My bed. So cozy.
Brings me back to life.
My bed. So cozy.
Brings me back to life.
What’s more joyful than singing a favorite holiday tune with some of the loveliest people on this Earth?
You got it — not much.
Check out this clip, one in a series of Christmas Songs from the wildly talented Jazelle Morris.
Don’t forget to rate, share, and subscribe to her YouTube channel!
I’m not bipolar. I don’t have high highs and low lows.
I just have high highs and higher highs.
And that gives me a larger-than-average capacity to be active and create stuff. I don’t think it’s an illness but it is definitely an abnormality. I’m frequently misinterpreted.
I get a lot of microagressive comments like “ew just looking at you makes me tired.”
Or “just hearing that stresses me out.”
Or “Octavia you’re such an over achiever.”
Yeah maybe compared to you. Jerk.
Or my favorite, “You do TOO MUCH.”
No. I. Don’t.
But whatever. It works for me. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary for me. I am my normal.
And yes, I do sleep.
On the other side of that is all of the support and cheers and encouragement from my friends.
“Wow, you stay busy!”
Or “You’re doing what I always wanted to do.”
Or “I want to be you when I grow up.”
Look, I may not be rich or famous or even moderately debt free and I pretty much just barely pay all my bills and yes, I just cried this morning…
I’m living my best life and I am really truly and honestly so comfortable in my skin and in love with ME.
And if me being my best me helps you be your best you, then let’s do this life thing together, baby!
I’m Octavia. I’m an author, an artist, a cellist, a dancer, a mother, a speaker, the founder of Tavinda Media, the host of three podcasts, and I’m just getting started.
Follow all my stuff:
I Dreamed of DREAM
Do you dream? Some say dreams are a series of random brain signals that turn into images and sensations in our minds. Others claim our suppressed urges and desires boldly rise to the surface when we’re unconscious. And some are confident dreams are simply the trash compactor of our unneeded memories; the nightly clear browsing…
I recently wrote about my presentation at my church small group. Part of the expectation is not only to introduce our business but to also explain how that connects with our spirituality.
My business (which is kind of a secret right now, but I’ll introduce very soon!) is a “company” version of myself, but not limited to my own talents and products and brands. The beautiful thing about the model I’ll present is that there is always room for more creativity at the table — not just mine. I want to elevate others with similar platforms, too.
I nearly ran out of breath listing the sorts of products my company will offer — both entertainment and retail — not only because I was on a clock and I was talking very quickly, but also because of pure passion and excitement to put all of ME out there in a marketable way.
When someone in the group asked about my spirituality, I suddenly stalled. I had a hard time spitting out the words that were on my heart. But finally, I boldly went for it. “I feel like I’m called to redefine the face of Christianity,” I said. Wow. It felt weird enough saying it out loud then but it absolutely feels just as strange and fresh typing it here. I’ve actually been avoiding completing this post for a week just because I was afraid of this…confession.
It’s so jarring to me because it seems like a very heavy burden to carry: How could one person reroute what’s been ingrained for more than two thousand years? Well, with one little drop of me, being myself and doing what I was created to do. What if your greatest call to worship, your purest form of prayer, and your most genuine communication channel with The Divine was by simply being yourself?
What if your greatest call to worship, your purest form of prayer, and your most genuine communication channel with The Divine was by simply being yourself?
The Grand Canyon wasn’t formed over night. Maybe it was one tiny pebble that diverted trickling rain water just enough to make it into a river. And maybe every rainfall that river grew a little bit wider. And after millions of years of H2O molecules passing and leaving their tiny impressions, an enormously stunning landmark was carved into the earth.
Not one of those molecules said, “Today, I’m going to make The Grand Canyon.” No. Every molecule simply existed.
Water has been teaching me a lot over the past several months. I even referenced water in a Facebook live event I hosted, reading a piece of The Hibouleans and debuting the first track in The Hibouleans book score.
Skip to around 6:50 — water doesn’t strive for perfection. Water is gonna do what water is gonna do. The water doesn’t ask permission to be there. Water is. The journey I shared here was that I’m learning to accept (my)yourself in not only what (I)you do, but in each phase that (I)you do it.
So as I spoke to my spirituality, I offered this — that my faith is woven into every fiber of my company because I touch every grain of my company with my rawest most unfiltered gifts and talents. My quest to cultivate my passions and share them out of love and pure positive intent, not only shines my gratitude and adoration into those around me, but it is also a mirrored reflection of what is shone into me from The Divine.
I cannot separate my spirituality from my work. It is impossible to unbraid worship from my craft. Me being true to my gifts is my most authentic form of worship.
I don’t have a big conversion testimony. I can’t tell you the day Jesus saved me. I can’t tell you the moment I heard God speaking to me not from above but from within. But I can tell you that God speaks. God exists. God is love so great and abundant our humanness cannot even begin to quantify it.
I can also tell you that my faith is not a product — I’m not in the ministry “business.” But I do have a calling to be the sort of Christian that makes people reexamine spirituality, Christianity and truly living the way Jesus — and others — showed us: let everything you do come from a place of love. Not superiority. Not judgement. Not hatred. Not condemnation. There is no other to judge — only us.
You see, when you recognize offering yourself — your gifts, your skills, your excellence — as a form of worship, it eliminates all the mechanics of doing it right. You’re already doing it right! Another reason why I love praise dance, or just playing my cello for the pleasure of making a joyful noise: I’m eliminating the limitations of conscious planning; I’m circumventing the human process of articulating and opening a direct channel between myself and the heavenly plane. This meditative, hypnotic, trance-like state, I believe, is what prayer is. Prayer, perhaps isn’t an action, but a state of being.
…when you recognize offering yourself — your gifts, your skills, your excellence — as a form of worship, it eliminates all the mechanics of doing it right.
How many times have we all gotten caught up in interpretation and rules and words and how we might sound or look to other humans? Our worship isn’t for them — it is for above. And that gate deserves to be fully opened without fear of imperfection, shame, humiliation or ridicule.
You are a gift to the world. Shine through your positives and in doing so, you honor God, whatever you perceive God to be.
I can’t wait to introduce you to my new company! Coming in just a few more weeks. Stay tuned…
FORMER MISS MICHIGAN RETURNS TO DETROIT TO INSPIRE GIRLS WITH BINGE-WORTHY SCI-FI SERIES AT DETROIT BOOKFEST
Independent author and former pageant queen aims to redefine how young women of color set expectations for themselves
DETROIT, July 9, 2018 – Detroit-raised author, Octavia Reese, created a world where bold, brave, brilliant brown girls fearlessly step into their own greatness as stars in the sci-fi epic adventure series, The Hibouleans. The leading teens, Taryn and Priya, are STEM fanatics and must use their math and science knowledge to solve clues as they embark on a life-or-death treasure hunt against terrifying shape-shifting Hibouleans.
Octavia, who now resides in Chicago, represented the state of Michigan in the 2006 Miss America pageant is also a cellist and composer, and wrote The Hibouleans book score, too – the musical theme that accompanies her characters’ adventures in the series. As Octavia travels, reading excerpts from her series and performing on her cello, she hopes to send one major message: it’s time for the world to envision women of color in more leading roles, especially in science fiction.
“I’m a big nerd,” Octavia said. “I grew up admiring Stan Lee, Stephen King, Chris Van Allsburg, Tim Burton and Ed Gorey. But my favorite adventures always seemed to leave out characters that looked like me. I was tired of watching everyone else have all the fun. My main character, Taryn, looks like me.”
Octavia said she wrote the series for all the brown girls out there that love problem-solving, strength-building, lab experiments and dream of having super powers and being the hero in epic adventures.
“I wrote it for my inner child and to fill the color-gender void I saw in my youth,” Octavia said. “Now I want to share it with all people that crave epic adventures – representation not only changes our narrative but changes how others view us as well.” Octavia hopes The Hibouleans normalizes diverse character leads in magical, science-fiction and fantasy genres.
“I also wrote this for my own children. I want my three sons to equate strength and bravery with boys and girls,” Octavia said.
In June 2018, the Miss America Scholarship Organization officially announced the elimination of the historic swimsuit competition from the annual pageant, sending shockwaves across the country. Octavia supports the decision and says it aligns with her own vision of The Hibouleans.
“It’s time for women of all shapes, sizes and colors to take back our own narratives and tell the world how we want to be received. While the Miss America competition has evolved into being so much more than the swimsuit portion, that’s still the only thing most viewers remember. Now they’ll start to see us for who we really are – gifted and educated forces of change.”
Can I just gush for a minute? You know when you have that ancient chemistry heart-strings magic connection with someone? Well, that’s what happened when I met Aaliyah aka PeanutBuddarArt and her family in February at Harold Washington Library featuring Soulful Chicago authors for Black History Month.
It was an instant, “Hey fam!” feel. Not only did they feel like home, but Aaliyah is a mind-blowing artist. The kind of artist I
was looking for in the very beginning of this journey. I told her and her mom Kelli about my plan for The Hibouleans to be an animated series and how it would be so perfectly fitting for Aaliyah to be on the illustration team. I told them that I wish I had met them first because I had already partnered with another talented illustrator and while he wasn’t her, he was still cosmically gifted and I could see him doing beautiful work bringing The Hibouleans to life.
Fast forward to a failed second chance, a second ghosting, and a lost $50 deposit…
And then I thought, hold up, didn’t I ask for this? I did. I asked for this.
I won’t go into details, but I will refer you to my previous post, point No. 4 — draw your own conclusions. Hehe. Draw. Anyway.
At first, I was distraught and disappointed. And then I thought, hold up, didn’t I ask for this? I did. I asked for this. And the Universe delivered.
I reached out to Kelli, and said “Hey, remember how I said that I wish Aaliyah could be my illustrator? Well, now she can!”
And Team Hey Fam was born. Aaliyah captured the essence of The Hibouleans in all of the best ways. She took something that doesn’t exist anywhere but inside my head, and brought them to life. She breathed a new vision into my characters that I never could have done alone or with any other artist.
And the truly amazing thing? Aaliyah is 14 years old. She’s the same age as Taryn; she’s equipped with the same gifted curiosity; she emits the same depth of wonder and the same timbre of laughter. It’s as if Aaliyah is drawing her own story. I couldn’t have wished for a better family to — oh wait — yes, I could. I did wish for this. They are my actual dreams come true.
This is my first blog post on http://www.octaviareese.com — I’ll be keeping you updated on milestones here with my book and other projects, while keeping my other blog, Road to Relovery separate and focused on personal and relationship health. Today’s big news: Vol 2 is ready for your hands!
I’ve learned so much since deciding to take my independent publishing more seriously and moving from e-book only to print. Here’s a list of some of my takeaways: