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Renaissance Marie Austin "My Story"

My name is Renaissance Marie Austin and I have finally built up the courage to tell my story. But first, let me lay the groundw...

How I Discovered Billie Eilish and What She Immediately Did For Me

For a short while, I have been contemplating how to find a way to express all the the passions I feel toward Billie Eilish. I considered starting a fan page on Instagram and perhaps reaching out to fans 30 and over, but after some thought I felt it would be a bit much for me to manage. Instead I resorted to what I love most, writing. Normally, I journalize privately in one of my many notebooks, but for some reason this time, that was not enough. I wanted to write, but write publicly in hopes of connecting with those who share common sentiments. My goal here is not to share links asking people to come to my blog and read what I've written. This is my world in one place and if you happen to stumble upon it, great.

When it comes to Billie, there are so many things weighing heavily on my heart both naturally and spiritually. Like I have mentioned before I am an empath and am also spiritually and energetically sensitive. I have spiritual gifts like strong intuitive discernment of which some have said, a prophetic nature, but I hate that word. I also have the gifts of understanding, wisdom, and of revelatory knowledge of godly ways and scripture. Most times I just see things differently than others. It is not my goal to exploit myself or anyone else and if there is something I don't know or understand I just won't write about it. Generally, I am glad that most of the fandom can relate to these deep feelings and that this time I don't feel alone in the emotions toward Billie. 

After graduating college this past June I can say that Billie Eilish is the person who has ignited new creativity in me. I mean, it was daunting going back to school in the first place and even more daunting now trying to rediscover who I am according to the world now and my own creative efforts. But first, how I discovered Billie Eilish and what she immediately did for me the first time I laid eyes on her.

Let me start by saying that it was meant for all of us to discover Billie Eilish at whatever time and place we discovered her. She is chosen and sent from the heavens whether she knows it or not. For me, it was Fall of 2018. I was in school, a music student, and was preparing for bed one night. I was on Instagram right before falling asleep and during that time I rarely entered the explore section. On this night I clicked the explore icon and honestly, I am not sure what caught my attention, perhaps a cute baby or a video of a dope hairstyle, but I clicked on something that allowed me to start thumbing through photos. Suddenly there rises this photo, of this girl, with blue hair, wearing very baggy clothes like I had never seen before, but it was so perfectly dope and swaggalicious that my heart literally fluttered and my gut did a backflip, I kid you not. Now guys, people, listen to me. This is how my sensitivity works. A reaction like this can not be premeditated. I said inside of myself very passionately, "Who is this girl!". I jolted up in bed and was immediately captivated in a slightly frantic way. I clicked into her gram and saw that she had over 500,000 followers. I thought, 'what the heck? Where I have been?'. Then I saw a photo where she was on a stage in this huge stadium with massive amounts of people and I thought to myself, is this girl a mega superstar and I don't know it? I looked at her IG handle and it said (what I thought it said was We Are The Avocados), but really it was Where Are The Avocados. In my mind, I thought this was a group of some sort. Now, please know, that I had never heard her speak, sing, I had never heard an inkling of a song at this time, but there was something inside of me that told me I had to follow and follow quickly. The last thing I did that night was put my index finger to that follow icon and went off to dream land. 

The next morning I woke up still thinking about this "group" We Are The Avocados. I felt unbelievably light and excited about this discovery still. I went to school telling classmates about how much I loved "We Are the Avocados" and they were like "Oh Billie Eilish?", I thought 'uh sure, who?" 

About two weeks later I walked into our music library only to discover this same girl on the cover of one of our publications. My eyes got wide and my heart filled with joy because even though many of us barely read those articles, I knew that this was one article I was going to read. Later on that day I grabbed the magazine off the shelf and I begin soaking in the story of the person I came to know as Billie Eilish. It was the story of her beginnings, of her working with her brother and how Ocean Eyes came about. Upon reading this article, things really began to hit me hard and in those moments I was beginning to get a peek into why I stumbled upon her. It was everything I was reading about, the dancing, the singing, working with her brother, their philosophies about writing and also writing for dance, and the unexpected way Ocean Eyes blew up to their surprise. All of the same things I myself have lived and believed, except, I did not have the family support, my mom and dad already died and went to heaven and although I made music with my brother for many years, he turned away from me and still refuses to support me in the area of music today. I no longer want to know why and though I managed through anger and frustration, I realized as I was reading my heart was breaking because of it. 

Now, I don't want this to seem like me reading this article suddenly took me in the wrong direction, certainly not. I just want to be completely honest. It was occurring to me that I was being stirred up. It was shocking the way my soul connected, the way I saw a reflection of myself, my past innocence, my desires and the only thing I ever wanted. I literally felt like I was reading a story about Renaissance Austin and it was not easy. In the end I was encouraged and went over to the computer to search out Ocean Eyes on You Tube which I had never heard. I put on the headphones and welcomed the first harmonies which were beautiful. The moment Billie began singing the verse I was captivated. The first thing that stood out was her subtle vibrating tone, then her range. She had lows and highs and could really sing. Even though there weren't major runs or a lot going on I could tell in her voice that she really had the soul and musicality that one would have who really knows music and that there was room for more. Overall, it was good, calming, ethereal, and ambient. What changed for me was the moment those blue fingertips entered the frame. I gasped! Sure! Of course you would ask what the hell for? It's just blue fingertips. But no. In that moment I knew that there was something special about her mind because she did not have to do that. She could have just sang the song the whole way through with clouds and smoke all around, but those blue fingertips added an extra element of mystery to the whole idea of being held hostage by someone's ocean blue eyes. I was certain that the person I was watching was a TRUE artist and was calculated in her thought process about how she wanted to create and exhibit art. Indeed, the video budget was not much at all, but those blue fingertips of which she then rubbed on her face for added drama mad it all the more tantalizing. When I was done what I felt felt final. I understood the story, I heard the song, I knew who Billie Eilish was. 

It was not until winter break that I had my next opportunity to soak in who Billie Eilish was and that was where the interviews came in. I love getting to know artists through what they have to say, what they believe, their laughter, their jokes and the reason they make music. Videos are just the side bar, the creative visual. With all I had to catch up on outside of school I multitasked by watching Billie's interviews at the same time. I did not know what I was in for. Within the first two interviews I detected that she had the gift of wisdom. Now, the GIFT of wisdom is given by God and God alone usually predetermined before a child is born. Anyone can become wise if they are open to it, but again, the gift is predetermined. As I continued watching I was enthralled and there were others who felt the same way. Billie was feeding us with her words, her searching thoughts, and her charm. She emitted so much personality it was ridiculous and at the end we agreed that she was authentically, unapologetically herself with no filter, until she learned to have them recently. From learning about her family as a whole, her being diagnosed with TS and other issues she has faced I begin to see that she was from the tribe. Now this tribe is an invisible tribe not all tribesman know they are a part of until they come into full awareness of their spiritual nature. It is usually this way for most of us within it until we mature spiritually enough to realize who we are. It is a process like with everything else. I will not say more about this because it's for another article I may never write. But being that Billie was 15, 16, 17 and possessed the spiritual qualities she carried but also not really understanding the "why" is typical of a young and unknowing tribesman who as yet to grow in their understanding of their nature and who they are. Upon learning this I became protective of her in my spirit while my love grew and this continued on until commencement the next Spring.

After graduation I threw myself into the ocean of pop culture and decided that Billie would be my lifeline. I needed to study and figure out how I was going to take what I learned in school and apply it to my life. I did not know who anyone was anymore, but through her I was able to discover new music, new artists and new perspectives on art and even my own creative designs, and understand Gen Z a little better. I was moved in so many ways. I made a private playlist on Youtube of all the music videos and interviews I loved. I mean, I tell you, I was immersed and consumed with all that was Billie Eilish which actually pulled and tugged at my own pains and emotions, as it was really the consumption of myself and what she was teaching me. I literally felt like when Billie spoke about certain topics that she was speaking directly to me and I would ask myself, 'well Ren, what are you going to do about?' She was literally igniting me and helping me to search within myself to find a way to make my life happen, and guys, this is real and honest talk right here. 

It is now August and I am in love more than ever. I was led this summer to begin praying for her which I do often. I was moved to study my scriptures again for preparedness of anything that is to come. As I watched her more the HS begin showing things to me which I will not share publicly. After some time I looked up tour dates for Los Angeles shows and saw that I could not afford to go to the soon coming concerts, but my renewed faith put me right at the Shrine anyway with the expectation of miracles. I was encouraged to make four crocheted throw backs for her since I learned that she crochets. Whether she liked them or not or even got them does not matter. I did it and miracles did happen. Let's just say I went to the Shrine, got my gifts through to security, had no ticket for the concert, and still attended anyway, and met Billie and held her hand. You can read more about that experience here. 

Here is what I believe. The O'connell family has been raised up for the world to see for a reason as with Billie and with Finneas as an amazing songwriter. There is a reason for all of this in which we will talk about at a later time. 

Love, 
Ren



Billie Eilish vs The Fandom | Let the Prank Wars Begin! Will They Continue?



"Name another artist that gets into prank wars with her stans- I'll wait..." were the words of @bilsdemons, one of many Billie Eilish fan accounts. My response?



And it's true. Billie Eilish is lucky to be seventeen right now with a fan base of mostly little ladies of her same generation. Not only that. She is unique in the fact that she has somehow gone from playing with friends throughout her Highland Park and surrounding Los Angeles neighborhoods to playing with "friends" around the world. I call it playing in the Fanbox together. While she is already becoming a case study for other record labels outside of her own, she has made a connection with Stans other artists have not come close to making. Honestly, it's unbelievably authentic and you know what, they are all watching and taking notes. 

We already know about her infamous hugs, that beautiful angelic voice, how she makes everyone cry during live performances, and also probably while sitting in their cars alone under the moonlight sky blasting "I love You" or "When the Party's Over". We also know how wild, crazy, and funny she is having the ability to make everyone feel like they are her sister, brother, or best friend. These days, I find it amazing that you can literally DM a "celebrity", like their photos, leave comments and actually get responses back within seconds or hours. Interaction is so immediate that the bridge between stardom and normal living is so much of a short distance it is as if we are actually living life together with the famous and not separate from them. When I was a little girl, you wrote a fan letter, usually by hand, folded it, licked the envelop, grabbed a stamp, actually drove to the post office to mail it off just to receive an autographed photo some time later. That was it. Billie on the other hand, like many artists, trolls the social media platforms, liking post, sharing stories and even commenting every now and then. Supporters have even shown up to meet and greets only to find out Baby Bil knows who they are already from looking through their grams. The girl is really paying attention and they are amazed! On the flip side she also manages to conjure up a scheme or two and the fandom LOVES IT, the fact that she is even thinking about something to get them good with. 

This past Saturday she pranked all of us which you can read here. But little did she know that two high profile fan accounts was plotting a comeback behind her internet back. I discovered everything that went down today at 11am after pulling into a parking space on campus. I looked at my phone and saw a live stream that @mini.billie.eilish posted. When I read the caption I went into hysterics! My first thought was, "Oh man! I missed baby Billie going live for the first time in like a year and a half!" Unfortunately, it was not Billie. It was the genius fan accounts @beanieeilish and @avocado.eyes.


With @avocado.eyes's idea @beanieeilish went to work. Here's is how she pulled the off the fake live.




Tyniya who manages the account @beanieeilish spent hours photoshopping a black screen to look exactly like Billie's Instagram page. (Man the kids are smart) She went live Sunday night thinking that only 50 people would join. There ended up being over 24,000 instagrammers viewing the fake live of Billie sleeping and farting. That's right, farting. Viewers figured Bille went live but did not know she was live and fell asleep. All you heard was snoring and farting. (Guys, I'm STILL laughing as I write this.)


The comments were to die for. People were so confused. They asked, "Is she sleep?", "Is she dead?" (Clearly dead people don't snore). When the fart happened all hell broke loose, crying emojis and LMFAO left and right spewed from keyboards. Just when I thought the prankster was unprankable. Come Monday, upon waking up, Billie discovered Saturday's prank had been returned and it was good! Baby girl then took to her IG stories and sent out, shall I say, a "humbling" message.


In the next two swipe lefts was a video of her shaking her head for a few seconds, rolling her yes, and finding humor in it all.



She goes on to say: "Yall got me back. It's okay, I deserve it, but I'm gonna get you back real quick".(with a sly smile). "Don't you worry about it. Ta hee heeeeee!"


Then: "You really think my farts are weak like that? Hahaha! That's ain't me. Mine sound like a fucking bomb. Ahahaa!"

And so the prank wars begin. Or do they? Just a couple of hours ago I went back to Baby Bil's story and it was all deleted. Perhaps because suddenly seven video appeared on Youtube with the caption "Billie Eilish Farts in Sleep on Instagram Live". Oh no. In runs the team. But I am only speculating here. However, we are reminded that she is now a "professional artist". Boundaries and filters must be put in place. Or do they really NEED to be? I don't have the answers because I am not there working behind the scenes.

Currently, Stans are plotting another scheme to get Billie good. Will it go down and will Billie Bong actually come back strong, if at all? Generally, I think the pranking will all die down before it gets too out of hand. One Stan suggested that we organize a monthly prank for one day only. Phew! That's quite a commitment for a busy performer like Billie. I am glad everyone is just having fun in the Fanbox for now, considering I have not had this much fun since attending her concert at the Shrine in July. I guess we will have to wait and see what takes places in the next week or so.

UPDATE:

The prank wars will not continue. Unfortunately a group of people who call themselves fans began threatening Billie and her personal space. I will not mention all that was spoken of because I do not believe in putting that energy out there. Billie then posted a new story begging and pleading with the fandom to let it all go. The fandom won and she wanted to call a truce. (handshake emoji inserted). She said she would not return the prank, that she loved everyone and that she wanted to move on to something else. Overall, the weekend was fun and we had some good laughs.



Billie Eilish Pranks the Fandom and It's Hilarious

Saturday August 3rd began with a new addition to Billie Eilish's Instagram story. It was a snap of herself on a large billboard in New York City.  All seemed calm and fair throughout Instagram land and just like normal loving fans do, I grabbed my own screenshot and posted to my gram stating how proud I was of her.

On with my day, I spent the morning running errands and getting in that Saturday car wash.  Walking into to my boutique later than normal, I spent what hours I had doing some some creative work before meeting up with my girlfriend Wilma at 4:30pm. We were set to head out to Marina Del Rey, California to see a live summer concert with Kenner born Jon Batiste. We arrived, found our spot on the grassy hill right under the sun whose rays made the Marina Harbor sparkle like diamonds. The concert was wonderfully beautiful and the night was full. I even had my opportunity to dance with Jon Batiste when he brought the New Orleans style parade through the crowd. 

It was not until I got home that night, prepared for bed and laid down to check my Instagram that I realized something strange had taken place in the IG universe. Like I do nearly every night, I check out new Billie tags mostly searching for new photos, fan art, and the funniest memes that causes me to laugh myself to sleep. This time I came across a post that stated something interesting about a photo that was "accidentally" posted in Zoe Donahoe's Instagram story, one of Billie's best friends. The fan account urged people to stop reposting the photo because Zoe deleted it for a reason. I became concerned leaving a comment asking what the heck happened? Is Billie okay? The response was, "We don't know". 

After doing a little bit of digging I saw many posts and commentary about a photo of Billie that Zoe posted in her IG story that was possibly allegedly supposed to go to Zoe's close friends stories and not her public stories. However, after some minutes it was said to have been deleted. However, it only takes seconds for millions of people to grab a screenshot then hit the ground running.  From there I learned that the fandom went to work hard reporting the photo and getting "fake" fan accounts canceled that were posting the photo. They encouraged each other to post positive things like the photos of Billie I ran across that simply said "I love you so much" or "we love your so much". Even Zoe had inspired posts that said "Zoe it's not your fault". Someone even created a fake story insert that made it look like Billie posted a black screen saying "who's gonna start a gofundme for Zoe's funeral?". There was a fan account I ran across that was fairly new with only 7 posts, 4 followers, and they were following a little over 100 people. It seemed to me, and based off of other comments, people were starting new fan accounts that day trying to get follows and capitalize from this one photo. Fortunately, by the time I got to the Billie tags that night it was around 11pm and the photo itself had nearly disappeared. I figured the situation was mostly clearing up until I scrolled and ran right into it. Billie was in swimwear with a Playboy coverup and that is all I am going to say about it, nor will I include it in this article. Baby doll is cute though and full of fire.

So at least I had the opportunity to report at least one photo. What was so funny was that by the time it was midnight, at least in California, Billie posted an all new IG story. It began with this photo that included a revolving troll emoji. The original photo that was posted was completely from behind without her head turned. Here, she displays a sneaky smirk that had all of the fandom throwing their hands up yelling "She pranked us again!"


Swiping to the left there was a photo of her with a big cheesy grin. 


The third photo was of her and Zoe chilling in a room with big grins on their faces. 

For just a few moments Billie allowed the fandom to take it all in. Within seconds these photos were screenshot and posts and clown memes were going up like mad. Then finally Billie added to the story by writing a white screen message that said: 

See, Billie and Zoe conspired to post the photo on Zoe's IG story but only for a few minutes before Zoe deleted everything. Majority of the fandom responded with laughter and returned 'I love you(s)' and 'I love you more(s)', and of course immediately posting the bikini photos again of which Billie herself hearted. I know I was giggling so hard it was not even funny. And this was true for some of the fandom who commented that they felt embarrassed, like clowns, or hurt that she would prank them like this and was already making plans to get revenge. From one post I ran across, all the work the fandom put in that day accounted for over 700,000 photos and accounts being reported and canceled. Hmm, I wonder what Instagram thinks of all of this.

Overall, the way I look at the the whole ball game is Billie, as an artist can simply go about her day knowing she has fans but not really worried about playing in the fanbox (yeah I just made that up) with them. She could be totally professional and only do what's latest and greatest in social media marketing, but she and Zoe literally took the time to troll the fandom all day to see what everyone would do and I believe in the end she knows that the fandom, we, I, truly love her, cares about her and wants to protect her, sword and armor. However, she will be 18 soon and of course other ages thereafter which means she will continue to do what she is comfortable doing when ever she is ready to do it and sometimes that will mean a photo or two of her not so fully clothed, and also us just letting her do what she wants. 

Truth be told, as far as the skit itself, it is not anything to take seriously as some fans have. However, as a Billie fan who is 30+ I would only be concerned about the stupidity of mainstream media and the photo getting in the wrong hands and possibly media manipulators coming for her. Next thing you know her ass will be all over the tabloids, literally. But hey, perhaps that will never happen and if it does, and she does not mind her bum being splattered next to O Magazine and packages of bubblegum at the grocery checkout, we will just have to remember what the Baby says, "One day I will die and non of this will matter".  

As far as the general demographic of the fandom which is from age 0 to 19 they are very impressionable and are not thinking this way when still posting the photo. I do spend time commenting and talking with some of the fan accounts without being too serious. I am just hoping to bring balance really. Truth be told on IG as well as You Tube many of Billie's older fans who are 30+, I sense feel bad that they are old but love her. Well, I am here to say, guys calm down. The older fans relate to those wonderful Billie lectures from interviews and if you are not overly adulting then you can get down and laugh at the pranks too which I believe Billie would rather you do no matter your age. 

To shut it all down, Billie and Zoe were having lots of fun on Saturday August 3rd. It was quite a wild ride and if I had caught it form the beginning I would have been reporting photos just the same, I think. 

Celebrating Black History 2019 "Crochet and the Cameroon"

Celebrating Black History 2019
A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit an African textiles exhibit at LACMA located in Los Angeles, California's Wilshire district. I was amazed to see all the various kinds of fabric the clothing was made of as well as hats and other textiles used on belts and accessories worn as symbols for various tribal ceremonies and occasions.

Around this time, I had just received my Ancestry.com DNA results and was truly transformed once I discovered I was closely connected to Ghana. Finally, I had a place of reference and from that time on I felt close to the continent of Africa as a whole more than I had ever felt in my life. See, growing up not raised in black consciousness did not allow me to become rooted in the ideologies of blackness in American let alone a solid relation to Africa from an early age. Taking my DNA test changed all of this and caused me to develop a great appreciation for African culture and the generational process of it spreading through the blood and into the lifestyle of the Black American today.

There are two things that remained with me from this exhibition even after all these years. One was the beautiful large fabric of Kente Cloth hand-woven in Ghana, with small streams of real gold thread. It was very large and displayed beautiful along one wall. It was clear that Kente was and still is the diamond of Ghana. I was also reminded of a deep regret, of a time I gave my small pieces of authentic Kente to Goodwill. I was highly unaware of it's value, clouded in the brain, and was packing getting ready to move to a new city.

Secondly, there was a hat, a crocheted hat, an ancient crocheted hat from the region of the Cameroon and I was intrigued. Being that I am an expert crocheter and instructor and have spent a lot of time seeking additional historic information about crochet, this was new news to me. As a little girl around the time my Grammy taught me the art form of crochet I was always curious, or even assumed really, that most crochet came out of Africa. Of course later, I discovered that that was not entirely true. But this hat was definitely a clue to knowledge I desired to have. So, I decided to dive in a little deeper.

Like most designs and creations there are various styles and meanings to the type of hats made and worn, either status, for a special occasion or just for fashion. Below are links to my two favorite tidbits of information about Crochet Hats from the Cameroon. Thanks for reading!


Article from Tapestrycrochet.com








Renaissance Marie Austin "My Story"

My name is Renaissance Marie Austin and I have finally built up the courage to tell my story. But first, let me lay the groundwork. I am a returning adult student at El Camino College in Torrance, California. My major is Music with an emphasis on Classical/Broadway Voice and in the spring semester of 2017 I received my first music scholarship. I am a 4.0 student with a current GPA of 3.6  and growing. I'm sure you can imagine how amazing I feel with the progress I am making in my education career. However, life was not always this way. To assume that this is another rags-to-riches story would be cliche. Instead, I will say that it is more of a “riches-to-rags-to- victories-to-let downs-to-will I be homeless tomorrow” kind of story and the easiest ways to tell it is to start in the present time and work my ways backwards.
           In the Spring of 2016 I returned to El Camino College after a 15-year gap due to an epiphany I had when I was recovering from major surgery in the fall of 2015. I never imagined I would step foot onto a college campus again, but undergoing surgery became very significant to me. I realized I had been given a second chance to regenerate my mind and my talent by going back in time and starting afresh an educational journey I began many years ago, but could not finish. I began to coin the phrase “my post surgery life” to indicate how different and amazing my life had become and how wonderful I felt physically. Yet, three years and a few months prior to having surgery my health and mental state were the poorest they had ever been.
          Between 2011 and 2015 I was growing more sick than I could have imagined, but did not know what was happening to my physical body and mind. In the midst of my own medical research I traveled back and forth to my doctor and unfortunately my vital signs always came back normal and nothing out of the ordinary could be found, until a heart murmur was discovered during one of my later visits. By this time I had lost an unbelievable amount of weight, becoming a very thin 130 lbs. from my normal 187, and in the midst of my health issues I pushed and continued working and living my life. Through my fatigue, dizziness, and pain I continued to search out answers to my health problems and at that time I was managing and teaching crochet at a burgeoning yarn shop in Los Angeles where I was the only employee to start, accomplishing up to thirteen tasks a day. We were on the second floor, so it was important for me to take my time going up and down the stairs as not to faint or get overly nauseous. I carried large shipping boxes and stood on top of tables to hang samples. Even I was not aware of how ill I was and thinking back to those days I realized that I had put myself in danger by taking those risks. My only thought was that I was finally working a job I liked, and I was loyal to it and did not want to lose it because I had been in and out of jobs before and the list of companies I had worked for was growing. By this time I was on my fifteen job, it being right along my career path. However, I could have fainted or blacked out at anytime and anywhere because when a proper diagnosis came in, it was confirmed that I had uterine tumors that were literally taking my blood and life from me.
           Through a partnership with my doctors and a very intuitive feeling one day when I was viewing You Tube I had the strongest notion that the symptoms I experienced were the same as those of the various women I watched tell their story. From this point I knew my next step would be to get a pelvic exam, but I never made it to the pelvic exam by my own will. I was forced into it indirectly on a Sunday evening when I was participating in a rehearsal for a play I was starring in. I did not have a car at the time so I would catch the bus and train to Sherman Oaks. On this particular day I was late and could barely walk two or three steps without having to stop to catch my breath. During the rehearsal, which was upstairs, I could not sing the songs I was leading. I broke down in tears because I was so tired and still did not fully understand what I was going through. I had lost all color in my skin which had become pale yellow and on that night when my flamboyant director was taking me home he yelled at me very loudly and told me to, “GO SEE A DOCTOR, RENAISSANCE!”. He surely convinced me to see my doctor yet another time and I was glad I listened! When Monday came I made my appointment first thing in the morning and was surprised that I received one so fast, in only eight days. Usually appointments were given for the next month, but it was clear God was working things out. In a matter of eight days I took myself off of coffee which I had become addicted to and fell into a routine of going to work and church and resting. I cut out all extra activities solely to focus on my upcoming appointment. When Monday came around again I felt a little more energized than usual and once at the doctor’s office I was able to walk up the stairs okay without losing my breath too much. My brother accompanied me and I am thankful he did. I felt certain I would be able to go home that day, that I would get my pelvic exam, a diagnosis, a surgery date, then wait. This was not the case once I sat down to have my blood count checked. Immediately things changed and my doctor began asking me if I could see or if I was dizzy. It turned out my hemoglobin was only 2, which was completely unheard of! Normally people are dead before they can even reach a blood count that low and because I was sitting in the chair smiling and feeling okay, they thought that maybe the machine misread the test. So, a second test was administered after they warmed my hand up a little and it came back as 2.3. I was ordered to go to emergency that instant because my doctor knew that I could drop dead within any second that passed. This is where I became slightly alarmed and when I walked out to the seating area to let my brother know he was even more alarmed. By the time we drove three minutes to Cedar Sinai and walked into the lobby of the Emergency Ward the message that a young lady with a blood count of 2 who needed a massive blood transfusion right way had already preceded me.
           I became miraculously famous throughout the hospital that day. No one so far in its history had a blood count that low and were still living. When the nurses came to escort me they grabbed my arms as if I needed help walking, they asked if I needed a walker and again, if I could see, if I was dizzy or lightheaded. I smiled and told them I was fine as if what I was experiencing was no big deal at all. See, I was not aware that I should have been dead a long time ago and that I had about 1 pint of blood left in my body. That was where the heart murmur had come from. There was not enough blood pumping in and out of my heart to keep me alive. When I was laying on the bed in the emergency room waiting for the doctor I saw that my vision was beginning to turn salt and pepper, but because I was determined to live I spoke to myself and said hold on, clear your vision, now. Previously I blacked out in the dark of night while on a retreat with my church in Joshua Tree and on three different occasions my heart stopped, causing me to keel over but every time I came back. It is obvious that I was extremely anemic at this point and because the machine could not detect my blood type the doctor administered the universal blood type to get blood pumping through my veins again. Something amazing and spectacular happened. When I felt the blood flowing through my body I understood what it meant to become alive again. It was the most amazing feeling I had every felt, so amazing that I began to giggle quietly in relief. The doctor said to me that our bodies are like cars and blood is like gas. If you don't have enough gas then the car will not work. I realize I was just operating on fumes and while in the emergency room I finally received my pelvic exam and my diagnosis was confirmed. That night and the next day I received seven units of blood. I was told the body carries eight. I rested and thought about my life and the people I needed to call, my job, my director. I was used to going and going, but at this juncture I needed to stop everything I was doing to focus on a healthy mind and body. I was replaced in the musical, of course, and the job I was so loyal to I discovered was not so loyal to me. With a needle in my vain I found out that my employee status was changed to an independent contractor to bypass paying payroll taxes. I was out of disability and unemployment benefits because later through a phone call with the IRS, my wages were never reported. It was the most crushing thing I could have experienced at that time. Not only would I not be able to work for a while, I would not have any financial support. My future looked bleak yet again.
           I want to stop just for a moment to recognize the director who screamed me into a doctor’s appointment and saved my life. I found out a year later, that following October, when I was a guest vocalist at his church, that he died only eight months prior. This news came to me in between my first song and me being asked to sing a second song. When I stood in the pulpit the second time I had the opportunity to tell the congregation how thankful I was that I’d met him and what he did for me in my time of illness. If it had not been for that Sunday evening, I am not sure I would even be here, but I am and he’s not. Life is filled with such irony.            
           Making it through surgery successfully changed my life and gave me the sharpest mind and most pristine voice I ever had. My thoughts were extremely clear and I no longer woke up in pain or had to consider everything I ate hoping it would not cause me more pain. Recovery for me was a time where I reflected deeply about my life, the good and bad experiences, my deep wounds and mental scars, my future and what I would do next.
           I am being candid here, and I must be in order to be authentically honest with myself. I exited the hospital as a homeless woman without even a place to recover. People gave money and church members created a food train for me, but it was always interesting to me that the people you expect to give more never do and the people you don’t expect to give, do, and an old gentleman friend of mine who caused me the worst hurt I ever felt some years prior was the first to send 1,000 dollars for me to recover at an Extended Stay for four weeks. That was just a portion of the cost. Again, the irony of life.
           In my room there was not much I could do but sit, stand, crochet, and watch golf on television, my favorite sport. And then, there was thinking. What was my life? And what was I doing? Why did my mother have to die so tragically in that car fire when I was a baby and why can’t I remember her at all? Would it have been too much to ask God just for an inkling of a memory? So many questions with no one right answer. I thought about how amazing my father was and how he was my greatest support. He died suddenly when I was fourteen, leaving my brother and I as heirs to our estate and also wards of the court as no one took over guardianship of us. However, being an heir and a minor is not a good combination when it comes to adult relatives. What was left of our money was taken and by 2008 I had completely lost everything, my property and home which I tried my best to manage and hold on to, yet I was learning life on my own and by age 18 paying a mortgage. It all happened so suddenly with no one stepping in to do right by me or tell me how the world worked and operated, only pointed fingers of blame were directed toward me for things I didn’t know relatives were hurt about, things that came up decades later that no one ever talked of.
           I thought about my career and all the jobs I had to make ends meet, the business I started to keep me afloat every time I was let go from a job or had to leave one. Why was I continuing to take positions at companies where I did not fit in and diverting from the path that was created for me, that I could see and knew existed since I was a little girl? And more importantly, the actions of my most recent job caused a gaping hole in the pit of my stomach causing much hurt. I put all my worth into that position. You see, I was never confused about the overall vision of my life. It was the fine details and the step by step process that was bewildering at times, especially when there was no guidance, support, or advocacy from anyone in my life.
           I thought about right before I landed in the emergency room, about how my band had a residency for a year at a local dive bar in North Hollywood and how on the last performance I finally sang in front of an A&R of a subsidiary music label under Universal Music Group. The interest was immediate and they were ready to start negotiations. Finally, it was the moment I worked my whole life for!  I figured things could only move upward. I put two music videos together and put out one song on internet radio for a trial with the label, but my health caused it all to come to a halt. And then the great epiphany came. I would be returning to school. It hit me like a leap of faith as well as a daunting thought, because what was I to expect? I had already told my job that I would not be returning and more than anything I was starting a brand new life that needed a change of pace and new opportunities. This was about revival and although I warred with myself about the decision to negotiate or return to school, I eventually followed my gut. Education was the better choice for me at this stage of my life.
         After being out in the world working and building my professional and entertainment resumes, performing and running my business, I would return to school to study music, revive my talents and update myself on what was going on in the world of education. Previously when I attended El Camino, I did not receive a clear path as to how to go about fulfilling my dream of pursuing music, but when I rested in my recovery room the vision was very clear, even down to the fine details. I felt at peace while reflecting on my successes and the memories that made me proud. My knitwear design company, Raghouse International, thrived online when I open my doors on Etsy.com which led to over 30 blog features and articles written about me, as well as online magazine features. I gained friends online all over the world shipping products along with my music globally, and I created a strong local and social media following and landed a crochet hair accessories collection in four Nordstrom across the country. I have sang on television, film, and in commercials, at live events, private parties, and celebrity weddings. I did background work, hairstyling, and model dressing for Los Angeles Fashion Week and have rendered my services for trade or little to know money. I believed in paying my dues and that I have done, because that is what I was told I must do, but none of my overexerted efforts elevated me high enough to keep me from homelessness. I decided that it was time for me to make a mental change. When looking at all the great work I had done on various jobs, I knew that it was time to value my talent and skills much more than I had done in the past. I was worthy of that value and with my new mindset I felt confidence walking toward my new journey.
           After recovery, house sitting, living out of my suitcase, my car, at the overnight spa and moving around to five different places for the past two years and five months, the weekend of September 30th 2017 was a huge milestone for me. I finally moved into my new studio apartment . My brother helps me to keep a roof over my head and I am very grateful for that, but as a mature woman who once had her own independence and home, who housed people in need, hosted and cooked for people, who has served people her whole life, now needs serving. I have a great desire to rise up and stand on my two feet again and cannot do it alone. I need your advocacy and I need you to become a part of helping me spread my talent to the world. I need you to support my businesses and my educational career because I have no one else to reach out to. I will be honest and say that I grow more tired and I grow older for suffering is tedious, but I will not give up or stop amidst the purpose God has created for me. Now that I am a new member of the El Camino Chorale it is my desire to make it to Carnegie Hall in the Spring of 2018.

           I have heard my whole life how wonderful and amazing my mother was and I often wonder how much of an advocate she would have been if she were here.

Love, Renaissance

Omarion's "Distance" Brought Tears to my Eyes

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first post of 2019. If you do not already know me, I am Renaissance Marie Austin, singer/songwriter, designer, and writer.

Music is one of the most important entities in my life. This month, although this song is not brand new, I discovered Omarion's "Distance" on youtube. My first viewing of this music video brought me to tears. It was the combination of me previously dating a nice Nigerian guy who gave me insight into his culture while growing a true connection and love for the African culture as a whole. 

In this video Omarion is on location in South Africa. He features the glory of the South African Zulu tribe beautifully! Through his dance moves he shows that he is STILL one of the best dancers in the music game. Wonderful and passionate feelings emanate from this video, from how sexy and skillful he dances and the beauty of the Zulu women and elders, to the tribal dances and story the video tells. 

These days "Distance" is on repeat.