I would categorize today as “Melancholy Monday,” what do yall think? Partially, I blame it on the weather but deep down I know it’s just an emotion connected to my personality. So, sensing my down mood, I decided to switch on the air pods and listen to some nostalgic sounding music. Hence my blog title: Emily

Emily is a song that I stumbled across when browsing on iTunes. I desired to find some music that kind of made me go back in time, something dark and twisty with lots of conflicting feelings. Don’t lie to yourself, everyone does this, no matter what genre of music you’re into. That’s like saying you’ve never stared out the window as a kid and imagined you were in the music video. LOL we have all done it. Especially when it was raining.

But really, I am not ashamed to say that I use music to take me back to specific moments in my life or relive memories with certain people or events. This song in particular, does that for me, so I felt like sharing it.

The two artists of the song, Jeremy and Chelsea, they both express this beautiful conflict between people in a complicated relationship. I do not believe Emily to be a specific person, rather a name that fits anyone who has dated someone with a tight hold upon their heart. A grip that you could never loosen or rid yourself of, no matter how wrong/right it felt. In the song, there is a love that is portrayed to be extremely overwhelming, to the point of complete pain and sacrifice. The couple here, has seen a lot together, those terrible moments of arguing behind closed doors, holding ones tongue amidst a fight, or worse, saying “it wont happen again,” yet it happens again. But the catch is, both individuals can’t stay away from each other. No matter what they do to cause havoc on their relationship, they always come back to the same pattern, due to the amount of love they have for that person. Some people would argue and say, this is a representation of a toxic connection, though I think many relationships have many faces, and this song can literally fix itself over multiple examples of complex commitments.

Love is extremely fickle. It is also one of my favorite things to write about. The amount of layers that fold under itself is an obsession of mine, I must admit. This song hurts. It really does. The sadness in their voices gets me every time, just how tired they sound of this round and round, up and down relationship that obviously crushes their souls, all for the count of their unstoppable love for each other. It is devastatingly beautiful. Even if you have never experienced a relationship like such, the amount of loathing for the others commitment is SO evident. Breaks my heart. I think that the song has a wide range of age variation also. This song could apply to young teenagers or adults who have seen the heavier side of a relationship after its honeymoon stage. The differences that creep in on the relationship are recognized and the terrible question of “are we compatible,” mixes into the conversation. The fear you felt when you considered losing that person, due to differences, caused you to want to change everything. Though, in order to change everything, you would have to lose everything. Heart-wrenching, I say.

So, my mood and name today is totally Emily.

I am Emily. Emily is me.

Emily is you.

Take a listen and let me know what you think:

Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships/
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

– Christopher Marlowe – Dr. Faustus

Oh, all is fair in love and war… or is it? I’ve been saving this story for a while now and wanted to write it during the Christmas break, BUT life seemed to get in the way and derailed me from my somewhat consistent blog posts. Deepest apologies friends. Now, to the point! Everyone in the world (for the most part) has certainly heard about the infamous Helen of Troy and the wonder that is her beauty. If you have no idea who I am talking about, ill fill you in with a brief list. Are you ready?

  1. Helen is Married to King of Sparta
  2. Falls in love with Paris
  3. Runs away to Troy
  4. Trojan war activated
  5. Troy destroyed.

Yikes… all because of a girl? Hm, not quite.

There have been plenty of arguments that Helen was a whore, a selfish slut, or my personal favorite, a hussy. THOUGH, have you ever questioned how any of her situation came into being? We relate to the fact that Helen was the pure cause in the downfall of Troy. As opinionated as this may be, I find Helen to be a small pawn in a much larger game. Why do I think this? Well, let me share:

Have you ever heard of the Judgement of Paris? Probably not, because I didn’t either lol. According to Greek myth, Zeus was pressed by three of the most known goddesses, *Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite* to answer the question “who is the fairest of them all?” {Snow white vibes all over it}. Zeus could not make a decision, so he decided to choose a mortal male to judge this competition. Lo and behold, he chose Paris, prince and son to the King of Troy. Paris was given a golden apple to present as a reward for the goddess he deemed the fairest. In an effort to judge their beauty, Paris had all 3 goddesses strip nude, to inspect their bodily forms (of course he did, smh). Each goddess enticed Paris with bribery: Hera offered kingship, Athena offered military success, and Aphrodite offered love from the most beautiful woman alive. Paris, decided upon Aphrodite as the winner; que downlights. This, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to the lovely Helen of Sparta, famously known as Helen of Troy.

Helen had been promised and married to the Spartan King, Menelaus, by her fake father and biological mother (remember, Zeus is her real daddy. He raped Leda, her mother). Helen’s older sister, Clytemnestra, had been married to the older brother of Menelaus, AKA Agamemnon, so the union of the two younger siblings was fitting for the futures of both their families. You can see why the controversy of Helen and Paris is befitting because Paris arrives in Sparta on a “diplomatic mission,” only to retrieve his promise from Aphrodite that the most beautiful woman would love him. Paris and Helen’s love story is widely known as passionate obsession and filled with tragedy. The couple is definitely a representation of the archetype star-crossed lovers. Interestingly enough, there are two versions of Helen falling for Paris: one explains that Helen was shot with an arrow by Cupid, to make her fall in love with Paris, and the other says she willingly left with him. I guess we will never know. Regardless, this couple broke a lot of rules to be together, like adultery, vows, and honor.

Paris convivences Helen to run away with him to the City of Troy, where he demands his family to accept her as Helen of Troy. His brother, Hector, is completely against this concept of love and foresees the hardships that are about to be brought down upon Troy by the couples betrayal. Now, I know what you’re thinking, how could it NOT be Helen’s fault for starting the war? Technically she didn’t. Behind it all, Zeus secretly wanted to cause the end to the Age of Hero’s, so obliterating Troy was the beginning step to this process. Zeus shaped a plan to unravel in his favor, while watching his smaller pawns do all of the work and also take all the blame for their innocent mortal emotions. This was pre-destined. Menelaus, determined to find and get his wife back from Paris, set out with his fleet of ships to the shores of Troy where a 10 year war ensues. Menelaus eventually demands a warriors duel in claiming the rights to the gorgeous Helen, to put a rest to the madness.

Long story short, Paris chickens out in the duel and breaks the accords by choosing a bow & arrow as his weapon. Menelaus laughs at him and pretty much pummels him into the ground, where Aphrodite intervenes on behalf of Paris and saves his ass LOL. Unfortunately, this deception propels the war even further rather than ending it. Many died in the process, such as Hector, Achilles, and yes, Paris. Helen and Paris are ripped from each other with death. She is devastated, and even tries to beg Paris’s first wife (which he left for Helen) to heal him. Oenone is bitter and does not revive him, allowing his slow death to consume him. Since the war is past the half way point, Helen is taken under the wing of Paris’s brother, Deiphobus, and he marries her in order to keep the family honor intact. Eventually, the sack of Troy with the constructed Trojan Horse penetrates their forces and Deiphobus is killed and Helen captured.

Poor Helen is now back in the hands of her original husband, where he plans to smite her for her love affair. Luckily for Helen, upon the raise of Menelaus’ sword, he realized he could not cut down such a beautiful being. He forgives her and takes Helen back to Sparta, where they end up living a very harmonious life together until they die.

There are SO many other subplots I could delve into with the Trojan war, but I will have to save those for another post. What I wanted to show in talking about Helen, is that YES she did flee with her lover. YES she broke a lot of rules for love. YES she is the face of the sack of Troy. BUT… she is not the sole reason. Zeus, the goddesses, and even Paris are all to blame equally. I feel bad for Helen’s reputation, seeing as she did not have a say in her own choices as a woman. Whether she was truly shot with a cupid arrow and tricked into love, or whether she was lonely and following her heart, from the VERY beginning, she did not get to choose her husband. Menelaus was thrust upon her, and she was used as a decoy to cover up the God’s true ambitions, forever blamed as the woman who burned a city for her own selfishness.

Who says a woman SHOULDNT be selfish? We deserve a voice. Either in love or not, we do. Paint her as you wish, though to me, she will never be considered the complete reason thousands of people died. She did not ask to be beautiful, nor did she ask for men to fawn all over her. I feel sorry that Helen and Paris did not get to have a life filled with more than a few years. Their love story overall is a hideous tragedy that I am sure haunted her for years after Paris had passed on. It’s interesting how many different loves a person can experience in their life time. I would deem the love between Paris and Helen to be a wickedly passion-filled whirlwind. Something you purely cannot ignore or dismiss… they did not have a choice.

She did not have a choice.

This brings me to the conclusion of my Helen of Troy rant. I hope you learned something today, and I appreciate you all! Leave a comment below on your portrayal of Helen. What do you think?

*PS* Watch the Movie Troy if you’ve never seen it. Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom = MAJOR DROOL

It’s a Tuesday, and I’m cold. The rain is making me depressed, I desire to spill my guts into paper, and my mind is prohibiting me from doing so; stupid mental blocks. I had a wonderful blog story for you all, but decided to postpone that until I am ready to write about Paris & Helen. Their love story hurts my heart, and I’d rather focus on something else outside of the Greek world. So, Water for Elephants anyone? Strange title, I know.

But, there is a reason I chose it.

I connect to soundtracks. When I say connect, I mean full-heartedly, unequivocally, place my emotions into every note, every drum, and every key. Why? Honestly, I cant tell you. I guess its the Piscean in me, but I love listening to soundtracks that are completely instrumental, depending on my mood. And today, it’s Water For Elephants

Water for Elephants was created by none other than Sara Gruen, who published this solo book in 2006. Her novel hit Hollywood in 2011 and was crafted into one of my favorite movies, starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz. If you’ve never seen it, or read it, I highly recommend you give it a go, especially if you enjoy reminiscent, somber, love stories.

Which brings me to how I am feeling today. A little lost… filled with dreams and memories. A blank space. A breath in the void. A blink. A piece out of the puzzle. And yet, I see a light that shines on those moments of singularity. It’s dim at times, but it’s there, in the back of my mind, glistening subtle rays upon my anxiety-riddled heart. I think I would categorize the light as hope. A hope for an outcome. A hope for happy endings. A hope for self satisfaction… and love. I think everyone in their life has experienced an emotion such as the one I am trying to pinpoint. When is the last time you sat alone somewhere and just listened to a song with no words? Eyes closed? Or maybe taking in a landscape? When is the last time you reflected on your age and where you are RIGHT now in life? Are you happy with it?

The story of Jacob in Water For Elephants is compelling to me because he is alone in the end, trying to come back to his roots. Which is how we all tend to feel sometimes, even when we are surrounded by friends & family; you’re completely alone. Though, through it all, you love yourself. You love life. You love others. You do. You did. You grow. And you have no regrets. Or do you?

I think that’s a big question to consider. Is there something you would change? Do over?… I get stuck on this question quite a bit. Music like this, from the soundtrack, really helps me think and tap into my tucked away emotions. Maybe even emotions, I do not necessarily want to feel. It’s also a way to propel my writing for my own novel, short stories, poetry, and even just random thoughts. Music is such a powerful tool, that I will forever be so grateful for. Without it… I believe that we would ignore much of our deeper selves. We would forget more moments. We would create more disconnect between the mind and the heart. And we would lose an outlet to relieve ourselves of pain, sadness, happiness, and fear.

Music causes reflection. Honestly, this post might not even make sense to you, but to me it does, since I am listening to the soundtrack right now and letting my fingers fly on the keyboard. It’s my reflection for the day. I suppose the main thing I wanted to share besides the music, my feelings, the story, or any of that, is:

“Why the hell shouldn’t I run away with the circus?”
― Sara Gruen

Check out my 2 favorite songs from the soundtrack: Gives me the chills every time…

Water For Elephants Soundtrack-04-Jacob Sees Marlena-James Newton Howard – YouTube

Water For Elephants Soundtrack-07-Rosie-James Newton Howard – YouTube

Then, let me know if you take the time to listen, read, or watch the movie. I promise… you wont be disappointed ❤

*The following short story relays the origin of red roses within Greek Mythology*

The fire cracked softly in the dim lit room, where rows of books filled towering shelves that touched the tips of the ceiling. The wood floor danced in the glow of the heat and before the hearth laid a burgundy rug, with two leather tufted chairs and a nearby round table.

And upon the center of the rug, stood Tessa, staring heavily into the orange hue.

Her heels hung limply between her fingers, and her satin gold dress pooled in waves around her bare feet. Light sounds of music from the ballroom hummed through the walls of the study, and Tessa knew that she shouldn’t have left early, but it was the only way she could keep herself together. She just needed a minute. One minute to breathe. One minute to try and wrap her head around her new engagement. Her now soon-to-be betrothed. Her “said” destiny.

A swirl of panic seeped into her mind as she mulled over the recent order of events set up by their families. An arranged marriage to William. A surprise proposal. The pressure to accept. A ball to celebrate. And James.

James.

The rattling turn of the doorknob made Tessa jump, so she quickly wiped her eyes of any remnants of mascara.

“I’ll be just a sec—” Her voice caught in her throat, when she beheld the man who stood in the thick door frame. He wore a matte black tie and a solid black suit that hugged every inch of his strong body. A wistful look cast across his face when he took Tessa in with his green eyes.

“I hear congratulations are in order.” James said sarcastically and strode across the wood floor to close the space between the two of them, all while holding his arms behind his back.

“What are you doing here? How did you even get in?” Tessa stammered with surprise. “Did the guards see you?” She dropped her heels onto the plush rug and tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear.

James, now a mere three steps away, stopped walking and brought forth a single, long stemmed white rose from behind his back. “Have I ever told you about the myth of a red rose?” James twirled the flower between his fingers.

“Are you kidding me right now?” Tessa rattled out a tight reply and glanced at the door over James’ shoulder. You shouldn’t be here.

“Humor me.” He smiled a wicked smile, one that would bring any girl to their knees. Tessa cleared her throat, shaking the thought from her mind and hesitantly gestured for him to continue.

“Now, you see Tessa, according to Greek mythology, the red rose was created by none other than the beautiful Aphrodite, the Goddess of love.” James continued to twirl the white rose gently, admiring the shape of its pedals as he spoke. “It is told that Aphrodite fell in love with Adonis, son of Myrrah and Theia and he was obsessed with hunting.” He took a small step on the burgundy rug.

“Aphrodite had forewarned Adonis multiple times not to hunt animals that are not fearful, but he did it anyway, and in the end, it cost him his life. Ares, the Olympic God of war and former x-lover of Aphrodite, disguised himself as a boar, and killed Adonis out of pure jealousy.” James looked up from the rose and held Tessa’s gaze intently.

Tessa nervously shifted her weight, and broke eye contact. “So, where does the red rose come into this?” She breathed.

“Well.” James lowered the white rose by his side, “In an effort to save Adonis from death, Aphrodite sprinted through the woods with the hopes of stopping Ares. While she ran, she accidently cut herself and her blood is said to have splashed upon a white rose, turning it red, and fashioned the first red rose.” James took another small step forward and ran his right hand through his brown hair.

“Interesting.” Tessa’s back tensed with how close the two of them were. She longed to touch him but knew she couldn’t.

“But, if the story of a red rose is so important, why do you have a white rose?” She looked up into his face this time and waited patiently for his response. With the fire popping in the mists of silence, he took a breath and spoke carefully.

“A red rose, is of course, special.” He raised the rose again and admired it. “Representing the meaning of love and adoration. But a white rose.” James placed the rose against Tessa’s left arm and slowly traced it down toward the inside of her elbow.

“A white rose, is the beginning and the end.” His voice grew delicate. “A white rose is eternal love. Everlasting. Something that cannot be tarnished.”

Tessa’s eyes watered with tears, as James lifted the rose and stroked it down her cheek. “A white rose is a memory that will never be forgotten.”

James.” Tessa reached for his hand but received the stem of the rose instead. James turned and walked back toward the door from whence he came.

The shadows of the night followed his steps until he stopped to speak over his shoulder. “And Tess.” His voice was gruff and low. “A white rose was first. I was first.” He paused and squeezed his fist, “I loved you first. Now. Always.” He paused once more and waited. Waited for a reaction. A sign. A plead. James wanted her to chase him through the woods. Needed her too.

Though nothing. Not a sound echoed off her lips.

So, James, stepped into the empty hall, and quietly, closed the door behind him.

And that’s when Tessa, with her white rose, crumbled upon the floor and broke… because deep down, she wanted him to be her last.

“O let me visit Hero ere I die!” ugh, Que heartbreak. Sorry for introducing my first blog post with such a heavy topic, buttttt doesn’t everyone love a good tragedy? Especially one that has survived the test of time and embedded itself in multiple movies, songs, and not to mention, texts. Romeo and Juliet is probably one of the most infamous tragedies which portrays an allusion of the elusive poem Hero & Leander, written and adapted by Christopher Marlowe. So, if Shakespeare and Marlowe valued it, we need to talk about it.

Let me break the myth down for you real quick, in case you’ve never read it:

Hero is UM, gorgeous, a virgin, and a priestess of Aphrodite -AKA- The love Goddess. Hero lives in a tower all by her lonesome, located on the Hellespont in the city of Sestus. Leander, the stud and seducer of the story, also lives upon the Hellespont across the Mediterranean sea. Upon their meeting at a fun-filled festival, Leander falls head over heels in love with Hero, where he desires to shag her and propose marriage. Hero, unfortunately explains that she cannot marry a man from a foreign city (why is it always the parents?), so Leander vows to swim to her tower every night just to be with her. Hero helps her lover by placing a bright lamp outside her window to guide him through the dark waters. BUT all else fails. A terrible storm blows through on a moments notice, and the glowing lamp is snuffed out by the strong winds, causing poor, beautiful Leander to lose his way and drown. Hero is left trembling on the shore, as she collects her mans broken body, and later, casts herself off the top of her tower to die.

GAH, I cant tell you how much this story wrecked me the first time I read it. I am a hopeless romantic by nature, so when I read pieces that leave me “in my feels,” I end up creating so many different outcomes of the story in my head. Like, why didn’t Leander get a damn boat? OR just tell Hero’s parents to f**k off? These myths sometimes make me question societies obsession with tragic love stories. Why do we value them so much? Is it because the lovers do not end up together, something forbidden that makes a fire grow in our chests and causes us to daydream about our own search for love?

I think love in any story is definitely something that has to be plugged into the plot, just because its such a relatable topic for readers. Some might think differently, though in my opinion, your characters need to have in-depth emotions, like hate, anxiety, sorrow, happiness, and yes, love. There are MANY different forms of love. In this case, with Hero and Leander, their love was quick, breathless (pun intended), and cataclysmic.

So, my main question here; what kind of love is the most powerful in stories? Is it the tragic, life ending love? The simple, steady, best friend kind? The obsessive and possessive? The overwhelming opposites attract, or the unpredictable love? The good girl, bad boy complex love?My list of types can certainly go on and on. I myself have TRULY been in love only twice in my life. Both experiences are far and in-between with comparisons and differences, though, I will say love in all stages of life, with any partner, is ever changing.

It’s simply a matter of IF you evolve with that love or NOT that stands the test of time.

Where as in Hero’s mind and heart, accepting death, allowed her to move forward into an everlasting love with her Leander. Her sweet Leander.

So, let me know your thoughts. What do you think makes a love powerful when it comes to creating it between our characters?

“It lies not with our power to love or hate, for will in us is overruled by fate.”

– Christopher Marlowe *Hero & Leander*