Beyond The Physical

Every time I open Snapchat’s daily news thread, there always seems be an article about perfecting the exterior you adjacent to a self-love article, encouraging happiness in your current physical state. On Monday, I’ll see a “10 Delicious Snacks To Lose Fat,” and on Tuesday, a contradictory recipe for “Double Fudge Nutella Brownies” is featured. These mixed messages leave me questioning, do I want the Victoria’s Secret model body, or do I bake and devour the molten lasagna I saw while scrolling through Facebook? 

As someone who lost 40+lbs, both for my own well-being and to appease society, I personally see the positive side-effects weight loss, healthy eating, and working out have. When I look in the mirror, the idea that hard work pays off becomes tangible, I no longer am on copious amounts of medication for mental illness, and I simply feel better in my skin. Aside from just the physical transformation, my mind, body, and soul has undergone metamorphosis. I now have more determination to improve and reach goals beyond just weight loss. Instead of dreaming, I’m acting, and I’m seeing results.

But, unfortunately, I’ve seen the desire for a better body cause detrimental side effects. Today, it’s common for a person’s mind to be hijacked and warped into thinking they aren’t good enough. Off the top of my head, I know six close-friends who have struggled with anorexia and/or bulimia. And as I get closer to my goals, the idea of looking a certain way starts to consume my thoughts.

This overwhelming prevalence of negative body image in the media has sparked activists to promote “loving” your body. Media is starting to recognize that humans come in different shapes and sizes. We’re beginning to embrace the stretch marks, tummy rolls, and other “flaws” that make us unique. This movement and change in mindset is necessary and amazing. After all, if you aren’t happy now, 10lbs won’t magically turn the world around. 

But there’s still a huge problem: it’s driven by the same idea already drilled into our minds: that what we see is what matters. Does no one understand that just because someone is thin, doesn’t mean their heart is happy with their habits? And just because someone is bigger, doesn’t mean their eating and exercise aren’t top-notch.

To me, loving yourself means being active, fueling your body with foods that will love you back, and maintaining mental wellness. We live in a deep-fried society that envies exteriors while shoveling chemically processed foods into our mouths, neglecting the fact that we’re slowly destroying our bodies because our priorities are in the fact that we’re “skinny" instead of “healthy."

It’s time to recognize that healthy is sexy. It’s time to model behavior that’ll strengthen as a society, not bodies that leave us envious as we continue to disrespect our own. It’s time for cultural revolution against what we know media to be, and make it what we it can be. Let’s open our eyes and mind to change. Take action, treat your body like a temple, and make mental and physical health a priority. Go beyond the physical.

So, what will you do today to love your body?

Carpe Diem

During the last days of her life, my Bubbe* sat weak in her favorite chair with face parallel to the floor. Although she had little to no strength left, she somehow looked up and said “I had a lot of fun.” Clearly suffering in pain, only moments away from her final breathes, my Bubbe was still able to positively reflect on the 79 years she spent here.

It’s been a little over 6 months since she passed away, but I still think about those words. How many people get to say goodbye to the world, knowing that they seized the day while they had the chance? It seems almost unimaginable to appreciate the memories and know that you lived life to the fullest, especially while slowly being tortured by your own body, but if my Bubbe can, so can I, and so can you. 

Yes, things are going to get rough, and that’s an inevitable fact, but that’s no reason to close your eyes to the wonderful world that surrounds you. The time is now to start taking advantage of every opportunity available to you (and work hard to open doors to the ones that aren’t).When the time comes, you don’t want to think of all the things you should’ve done, but instead, thinking of everything you did do.

So, what are you going to do today to make it count? What about this week? This month? Set (S.M.A.R.T.) goals, make a plan, follow it, and see your dreams manifest reality. Be brave and try something new! You’ll never know if you don't take shot. Even if you miss the target, you can't hit a bullseye without taking chance.

Click Here and Subscribe to my Spotify dedicated to songs that'll inspire you to seize the day!

*Bubbe is the Jewish term for Grandma.

Memoirs of An ADHD Kid: The Outfit Bullies

Mean Girls the Movie has always held a special place in my heart. Just like every other girl my age, I can probably quote the entire movie,  I’ve seen it more times than I can even count, and it’ll simply never get old. But unlike most girls, I’m actually from the place that the movie takes place — The North Shore.

While writing the first draft to this story, I realized how similar my life in 5th grade was to Cady Heron’s. I was the new student in a North Shore school, and had my own Regina George, Gretchen Wieners, and Karen Smith.

Half the girls in the “popular” clique at Lincoln Elementary School went to camp with me, so, of course, when I started at this new school, I gravitated to the familiar faces, and wiggled my way into the tightly knit group that had formed 5 years ago in Kindergarten. These girls were already best friends, and I would do anything to be accepted like they *seemed* to accept one another. 

I remember, one time, they told me they were all going to wear a vintage-style tank top from “My Generation,” and that if I wanted to fit in, I had to buy one to match with them the next day. So, that night, I convinced my mom to take me to My Gen to buy said shirt.

Maybe today is the day I’ll be a true member of their group, I remember thinking to myself.

Boy was I wrong.

“I cannot believe you actually bought the shirt!” I remember Sarah* telling me. 

I fell for another one of their games. Alright, brush it off and play it cool. How can I play this off? Think Dia, think.

With cheeks red with both anger and embarrassment, I said, “this shirt? I’ve had it forever. It was the first thing I saw in my closet this morning, so I just grabbed it not thinking. I totally forgot what you told me yesterday at recess about it.” I was crying on the inside. All I wanted to do was be one of them, and they fooled me. Again.

Little things like this were consistent. On a daily basis, Sarah, would attack my outfit for the sake of embarrassing me. On Friday, she’d accuse me of wearing the outfit on Monday. On Tuesday, she’d say “you wore that shirt on Thursday.” She was keeping tabs on what I wore, just to tear me down. 

Looking back, the craziest thing is that I felt the need to impress someone who didn’t even like me. So, once again, I forced my mom to take me shopping, so I could impress Sarah with my new clothes.

On Monday, I showed up to school, looking and feeling flyer than a plane. With my new Abercrombie and Fitch orange tshirt and jeans, I felt like I could rule the world. On Tuesday, I pulled the tags off yet another outfit, and once again, felt like no one could stop me. This continued all week.

When Thursday rolled around, Sarah once again approached me. Maybe she noticed my new wardrobe!? 

“Dia, you wore that outfit on Monday.”

Wrong. She was so wrong! She was making up the whole thing. She was bullying me just for the sake of hurting me, and finally I was seeing that she had no backing to the garbage that was spewing from her mouth.

“Actually, I wore an brand new pair of jeans and orange t-shirt from Abercrombie, and now I see that you’ve been making this up the whole time. If you dare to call me out again in the future, I’ll know you’re lying, so just don’t.”

And she didn’t.

From that point on, I started hanging out with a different, much nicer group of girls, who didn’t make me feel bad about wearing an outfit twice, and Sarah didn't dare approach me with words to tear my down again.

Moral of the Story:

1. Bullies only have power over you if you let them, so stand up for yourself, and don't give in to their mean words and actions. 

2. The “popular” group doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t happy. Leave them if they aren’t treating you well, and be with people who care about you. 

3. If you don't respect yourself, no one is going to respect you. 

You have the power to make a change for a better future, or stick with what you know, even if it makes you unhappy. So, what are you going to choose?

*Sarah is the collective name for all the bullies in the group. They worked together to make a larger impression, but quite frankly, it’s too difficult to remember who said what. For the sake of the story, all my bullies are Sarah.

Memoirs of An ADHD Kid: Miss Delinquent

You’d think that my favorite teacher would be the one who sparked my interest to writing poetry, and, incidentally, songwriting. You’d think I would love and thank the woman whoopened my eyes to my passion; the one I currently am pursuing as a career 11 years later. You’d think I would have fond memories of writing my first poems about staplers and inanimate objects. But when I look back at it, I start to tremble at the idea of me running and hiding into the forrest behind my elementary school with my parents crying in the school and the police searching for me, a missing and confused 9 year old.

No one at Sherwood Elementary School quite knew how to handle me, and no one wanted to take the time to figure out how. I was a hyperactive ball of seemly uncontrollable energy. I was the kid they gossiped about in the teachers lounge. They had to warn substitutes about me. I held the record for most quiet rooms (lunch time detentions) that the school had ever seen. I would get kicked out of class on the daily for what seemed like mundane mistakes. I was an unmedicated A.D.H.D. mess, and was treated like I was lesser of a person because of it.

Although I was only 9, I believed that I deserved respect. My teacher thought differently. She thought we were just 4th graders. She didn’t care about us, but we had to hail to the queen as mere 4th grade peasants.

I treat people how they treat me, on steroids. If you treat me with respect, I’ll shower you courtesy, kindness, dignity, and appreciation. And back in 4th grade, if you treat me like I belong in a cage, I’d treat you like an abused dog who hasn’t seen the light of day for weeks.

There was quite a bit of conflict between Mrs. Widen and I for that very reason. She treated me like like a lesser, when all I wanted, and all I needed, was mutual respect. Although I see it now, as a 9 year old, I was not going to be the bigger person and respect her if she was going to treat me like dirt.

I hated Mrs. Widen. Everything I did was wrong, but she didn’t care to show me what right was. She would just yell at me and punish me by sticking me in the dreaded room of silence for an entire lunch period. I never learned how to avoid trouble. She never cared to teach me. I was labeled the fucked up kid and had no idea how to fix it. I knew trouble was inevitable, and began dreading waking up for school.

Until the poetry unit.

Something about the way I would construct words into lines and stanzas, I finally connected to what I was learning. Things came out of my head like rhymes. Finally, I could sit still and work for hours, writing poems and songs all day.

Waking up for school no longer felt like abuse. I started to see a shimmer of light and actually wanted to learn. For a hot minute, I stayed out of trouble because my mechanical pencil, squishy grip, and eraser top were constantly meeting the pages of my yellow argyle composition notebook, distracting me from the other subjects, but also distracting me from distracting my class.

Without getting myself into trouble, I was able to celebrate recess with the rest of the kids. I’d perform my newly written songs for my peers, and they seemed to enjoy it. I was glowing on the inside. All I wanted to do was write more. I had a fever, and it made me the healthiest mentally I had ever been up to that point. When the whistle blew to go back to class, for once in my life, I was excited to get back to work.

Mrs. Widen walked to the center of the room. With her snarky tone, she said “we’re coming to the end of the poetry unit, and none of you are ready to put your poems into a poetry book. Before you meet with me about a poem, check with your neighbor to make sure its good enough. I don’t need to waste my time fixing grammar errors you should already know. This is called peer review. And make sure you’re whispering. If the noise traffic light goes from green to yellow, I’ll give you a warning, but if it gets to red, you all get a quiet room.”

None of you are ready to put your poems into a poetry book. I was insulted. I have been working on my craft for days, and for a 4th grader, I thought it was pretty good. I brushed it off, and began to write.

Shortly after, Principal Zavagno quietly walked in the room, said hello, and handed a white envelope to Mrs. Widen. I ignored it and continued to work. He left and walked down the hall.

“Hey Jessie,” I said as I turned to my 4th grade best friend and desk buddy, “will you make sure this is good enough for Mrs. Widen!”

“Sure!”

We began to chat, knowing me and how easily my voice carries, probably a bit too loudly.

“I really like this!” Jessie smiled

“Thank you!”

Mrs. Widen stood up from her table in the back of the room and yelled, “Dia, Jessie, be quiet!”

With an abrasive tone, I preached “You told us we weren’t good enough, and had to check with our friends before we worked with you, and that’s exactly what I’m doing”

I sat down and once again began scribbling into my notebook.

“I’m not done talking to you” Mrs. Widen yelled across the room

“Well, I’m not doing anything wrong, so I’ll be writing,” I talked back.

“Don’t make me get Principal Zavagno.”

“Get him, I’ll be here quietly working.”

She left with an angry strut, coming back with the man who called my parents every time I would get in trouble.

“Dia, come with me to my office”

I ignored him as I scribbled my feelings into my yellow argyle composition notebook. For once in my life, I did what my teacher wanted, and I still was getting in trouble. I refused.

With a more stern tone, he repeated himself, “Dia, come with me to my office.”

I continued to ignore him and continued to write.

“Don’t make me carry you to my office myself.”

I continued to ignore him as he walked to my desk, grabbed my hands, and tried carrying me to his office. I resisted. My face was red with anger. I continued to resist. His hands were grasped so tightly around my wrists, my hands began to turn purple. I continued to resist. I kicked behind me, and hit him right in the sweet spot. He fell to the ground howling in pain, and I ran out of classroom, down the halls, out of the school and into the forrest.

I sat in the middle of the woods for what seems like an eternity. I sat there and cried. I cried until my body physically could not reproduce more tears. For once, I finally was able to do something right, but I was such a fuck up that I couldn’t even make that work for me.

When I realized I couldn’t survive alone in the forest forever, I emerged with little to no dignity.

Later that week there was a meeting with my parents, the teacher, the school social worker, the principal, and everyone else that you’d be intimidated by when you know you we’re getting in trouble.

I don’t even know who said. It was all so surreal, but I was being transferred to the classroom full of delinquents for the upcoming school year. I was being ripped away from my best friends and I wouldn’t even get to have box houses around my desk, which is the only reason I wanted to be a 5th grader!

And it all could have been avoided. If Mrs. Widen talked to me like a human being, maybe I would have listened. If I was treated like an equal, and not a pile of shit, maybe I would’ve tried. If only I paid attention to my own tone of voice instead of matching and surpassing Mrs. Widen’s, escalating the situation on both ends, maybe I could’ve stayed. But no, I was a delinquent.

But I can’t hate Mrs. Widen or Sherwood for completely giving up on me as a person and making me feel like a zoo animal, because without that, I wouldn’t have been sent to Lincoln Elementary School, where they believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. It was then that I learned, I have the power to change myself. And I did. I became the person I wanted to be: someone who could control themselves. Even though I still have to work on this everyday, and I continue to make mistakes, I have the power to continue to improve and continue to see results.

 

If you are being told you are worthless, don’t listen. Prove them wrong. Show them you can be everything they said you can’t. You can be anything and do anything you want, you just have to believe in yourself and put the work in. Take it one day at a time, and you’ll achieve your goals. When you want to get better, you will.

 

What Am I Going To Do With My Life?

Hello, my name is Dia Morgan, and my business card says I’m a songwriter, creative thinker, and enthusiast at life, but above all that, I’d consider myself an entertainer. In 138 days I’m going to be wearing a cap and gown, walking across the stage at Full Sail University as I receive my Bachelor’s of Science in Music Production. I’ll still be 20 years old, taking on life as a full fledged adult, supposedly ready for the real world. 

I feel like a walking contradiction because I could not be more excited to take on my future at full force, yet the idea alone makes me quiver in fear. I have no idea what city I’ll be living in, what job I’ll have, or even what I’m doing with my life. All I know that I want to spread positive vibes to as many people as possible.

Recently, I’ve been taking time to understand who I am and what the world around me is all about, and I’ve decided I shouldn’t be the only both learning from and laughing at my stories. So, through music, videos, and blogging, I want to share the my life and the wisdom I’ve gained, past, present, and future.

One of the series I’ll be posting is going to be called “Memoirs of an ADHD Kid.” Although publicizing some of my biggest mistakes and insecurities, including getting expelled from 4th grade, scares me more than becoming an adult, I feel that I shouldn’t be the only one growing from my past, and if someone is going through the same thing, they should know they aren’t alone. Many of these posts will have a song to accompany them, since many of my original songs have stemmed from these experiences.

But the past is in the past, and as long as we learned from it, what’s important is the present and the future. That’s why I’ll be exploring current issues I struggle with myself, and that modern America and beyond are facing. I hope to encapsulate all of that, and throw some random videos, posts, and songs purely to put a smile on your face.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting new material every Sunday. No matter what I am posting, I’ll be sharing the links on Twitter, on my Facebook page, and on my blog, which is automatically linked to my website (all links will be at the bottom). 

So, welcome to my life as Dia Morgan, I cannot wait to hear what you think.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND ME

twitter.com/warningitsdia

facebook.com/diamorganmusic

instagram.com/warningitsdia

warningitsdia.blogspot.com

Finally, The Beatles are on Spotify

On December 24th, The Beatles music was finally added to the library of my streaming service of choice, Spotify. Finally, I can listen to arguably (one of) the best artist’s music with ease.

I love The Beatles. I grew up with my dad playing them, and me singing along. Their music is a part of me. But now, as a Music Production student, I’m starting to listen to them in a completely different way. I’ve noticed the panning to is very heavy in a lot of their song. I found this to be intriguing. I feel like, if The Beatles were making new music to cater to the portable music players and in ear headphones we see so much of today, where its easy to slip one out for a minute while still listening, the way they panned would be different.

I also noticed that I was drawn to their slow, simple songs, with lovely lyrics. Being a songwriter, it makes sense, but this wasn’t an intentional songwriter move.

Anyways, since I’ve been yearning to stream The Beatles ever since I started using the application in about March of 2013, I felt the need to look through through the entire library, so I could add the songs I love to my library. The Beatles have about 250 unique tracks available on Spotify. Of that, I choose about 70 favorites to add to my library of music. See what songs I choose, and follow the playlist by clicking here. 

People always ask me, “what’s your favorite Beatles song?” So, I took the playlist of 70, and started narrowing down to decide a favorite. I couldn’t pick just one. There are 6 songs that I could not live without. In alphabetical order, the The 6 Beatles Songs I Cannot Live Without, and why are:

 

  1. Across The Universe
    1. This song just makes me so happy. Turning it on turns my lips into a grin. All my worries seem to leave my body, and I feel at home with myself. It’s so simple, yet so well crafted.
  2. Blackbird
    1. Once again, such a simple song that makes all my anxiety disappear. The guitar is so beautiful, and the vocals are soft and lovely. I just want to sip tea and be happy while listening to blackbird.
  3. Carry That Weight
    1. Part of Abbey Road, Carry That is the middle song in the 3 song medley (Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End). The way it seamlessly weaves from Carry That Weight amazes me, two different songs melded together with such craft in 1969 boggles my mind! The song sounds so full to me, it truly fills all the frequency ranges in the perfect way. The drums are so well crafted and well played, the bass is perfect, the trumpet comes in with the melody of “You Never Gave Me Your Money,” the 9th song of this album (Carry That Weight is 15th) and just gives me chill. It’s perfectly slow and soothing with enough movement in. There’s so much continuity to prove that it’s one song, but it’s ever changing. It’s such a well crafted and beautiful song.
  4. Eleanor Rigby
    1. To begin, the strings in this song are absolutely spectacular. The strings make this an atypical Beatles song, but it’s still extremely recognizable. This song doesn’t have drums, guitar, bass, or most of the instrumental things you’d expect to hear. It’s just strings, and vocals. In this song there are 4 violins, 2 violas, 4 cellos, and 3 vocalists (Paul, John, and George). The strings are so well crafted, you would think they’re part of a classical song, but they you layer in the vocals, layers and layers of amazing harmonies, and above all that, beautiful lyrics. Eleanor Ridgy took my heart as a pop song that wasn’t just cheery and happy. It was one of the first pop songs to deal with loneliness and death. It just hits you in the feels.
  5. In My Life
    1. This song has been a favorite of mine. Every summer, In My Life would be sang at at least one of our weekly campfires. It was part of my childhood, my favorite place on earth, and how I spent my childhood. When I became a counselor and was the Choral Director of our camp’s choir, I began to analyze the harmonies. Simples oos in the background, and vocal doubling over the beautiful guitar, bass, and percussion. A song so simple, yet so powerful musically. But the music is second to my love for the lyrics. All I can think about are how powerful memories are and how important it is to be grateful for the people surrounding you. Every day is important, every person influences you, and what you do with that is what matters. "All these places have their moments / With lovers and friends I still can recall  / Some are dead and some are living / In my life I've loved them all” These lyrics are so powerful to me. Everyone has the good moments in all different places, with all different people, and although they won’t all be in your life, it’s so important to appreciate them, how they shaped you, and what you learned from them. Such simple lyrics, yet such powerful meaning.
  6. Strawberry Fields Forever
    1. I have no idea what drew me to Strawberry Fields Forever, but it has always been one of my favorite Beatles song. It drops out perfectly to grab the attention of the listener. It has strings, horns, music that just sounds spiritual sounding music, weird effects, and it’s just full. There’s no holes, it’s all filled, it’s all beautiful, it makes me content with whatever I’m doing, wherever I am.

So, what are your favorite Beatles songs?

Women in the Music Industry

Music is the most important thing in my life. I feel that I was put on this planet to write songs that give my audience joy, which is why I decided to study Music Production at Full Sail University. It feels like, most of the time, Full Sail is almost a scale model of the music industry, yet it’s a college.

One thing I find very interesting about Full Sail is the male to female ratio. Of my class of 9, I am the only female. Out of the 21 head professors I’ve had, only 5 have been women, and 4 of the 5 teachers taught more general classes, and not the ones specific to Music Production. Since Full Sail mimics the music industry, I decided to do some research. That’s when I found that, according to an article published in June of 2013 by Huffington Post, only 32.2% of all music industry related jobs are held by females. That means males hold 67.8% of jobs in the music industry. Although males dominate the labor force of the U.S., the numbers are more even. Across the U.S., 47% of workers are women. Men dominate the general work force by 6%, but in the music industry, it’s 35.6%. 

Women are also expected to do more work, are subject to sexual harassment, and are constantly exploited for their bodies and beauty. Clearly, these are all issues in every work force, but it’s even more prevalent in the music industry, and everyone knows it. Artists are constantly starving themselves to live up to the beauty standards given to them by the labels, and it affects more women than men. Ke$ha, for example, had gotten so much pressure from the label to be skinny that she was put into rehab for becoming bulimic.

As women striving to be a pop artist, and if not, a songwriter, I am already trying to perfect my body because I know the industry judges people on their appearance. For this, I think it’s for the best, but I definitely know that I want to be skinnier for my music, and I know that my music will not be the only thing that matters to a label. I am already the center of many jokes in class, although I do believe that it’s because people know my personality is ready to take it and I play along with the games, but it still happens.

The music industry is still stuck in the 50’s when it comes to business. Just like in shows like Mad Men, women are not treated the same, and it’s just how it is right now, and going into the industry, I understand and accept this as a fact, but I’m hoping to be part of the change. I am hoping to be a strong women who provides guidance to listeners and peers, like artists such as Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga. I refuse to be someone that is disrespected. I am equal to, if not better, than any man in the industry, and I am willing to work to prove it. Although these facts do scare me minimally, I am ready to take them on head first and make a change for the better. I want the music industry, internally and towards the audience, to be one that embraces equality in every way, and I will be one of the people that makes it happen. 

I am ready for the challenge of not only being in the industry, but also being a women who makes it better for the future.

 

ARTICLES REFERENCES AND MORE ON THIS SUBJECT

http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/Qf-laborforce-10.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/lara-baker/women-in-the-music-business_b_3472612.html

http://freemuse.org/archives/475

http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/547787/is-music-still-a-male-dominated-industry-we-ask-the-women-working-in-it.html

If Today Were A Fairytale...

If today were a fairytale, I would wake up, learn something cool in class, because of course, fairytale me is following her dream and is studying music. If today were a fairytale, I’d get a text from Chipotle saying you won a Kindle. If today were a fairytale see I all time favorite artist, Mike Posner, perform in an intimate concert for about 60 people, meet him after, have him see how much he’s taught and inspired me, and get his autograph. Bonus points if he gives me a gift and signs it TO ME.

Today was a fairytale.

Today was perfect.

I am a huge Mike Posner fan. I’ve listened to and loved his music since his first mixtape in 2009. There’s something about his music that I connected to. His style, his dreams, his story. Since age 14, Mike Posner has inspired me, and he continues to do so with more force than ever before. But something about what Mike Posner is doing right now is spectacular. To understand, you can read here. He reminds me of what’s important.

Life is all about balancing working hard, loving every moment of everyday, and learning to oneself. If you live each day with this in mind, life can be a fairytale.

Today my hero gave me a jacket and signed it “To Dia.” Today was a fairytale, and tomorrow will be, too. I was reminded that life is good and I should be happy exactly where I am. I saw that the positive vibes a person emulates will come back and reward you. 

Mike Posner, thank you for being a genuinely good man. You are goals. You make me want to better myself as an artist and overall better human being. Thank you for being my role model.

Current Mike Posner Favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1tSfQbtKMU

Favorite Mike Posner Song from the past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO6nbYvAQ5Q