Happy birthday to the woman whose album The Velvet Rope made me feel a little less alone in this world as a 14-year-old girl embarking on one of life’s many transitions.

I love you Ms. Janet Jackson for giving me art and a name.

Follow the passion that’s within you. Living the truth will set you free. -Janet Jackson

‎When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.
Perhaps everybody has a garden of Eden, I don’t know; but they have scarcely seen their garden before they see the flaming sword. Then, perhaps, life only offers the choice of remembering the garden or forgetting it. Either, or: it takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both. People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.
I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I lived as I believed.
I was once told that a star in the night sky could have died out long ago but since the light it generated takes years to travel to the earth, we see the star as if it is still there. In short, the star may be dead but its light goes on forever. We too are light and energy. While we live, we generate - through our actions, service, and love - our own glow. Some of us burn brightly; through our passion, deeds, goodness and love, we enlighten the world of others. Some of us play small, dimming our truth through fear, negativity, cynicism or apathy. This world needs our brilliance now for there is far too much darkness - it yearns for us to ignite our being in both small acts and spectacular displays. And when we are eventually gone, if we have been determined in our way, like the stars afar, the light of our lives will continue, it will go on forever, illuminating and inspiring generations to come. (For my ancestors of blood and spirit, I may not even know all your names but I walk in your light.)
I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to become and I became that woman.
What you really want is to be surrounded by people you trust and treasure and by people who cherish you. That’s when you’re really rich.
You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

I used to say to my dad, ‘How did you and mom stay married for all this time?’ And he’d say, ‘Two things. Number one: You gotta have the same dreams. One person can’t be daydreaming about walking down the street in Paris, the other person wants to work in a coal mine. You’ve gotta want the same stuff.’

Number two? He said, ‘We never wanted to get divorced at the same time.’