Monthly Archives: November 2020

Keep on Dream Chasing

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

What does it mean to chase your dreams? Does it mean you don’t have a plan B? or does it mean you make a promise to yourself to just never stop pursuing what you dream of – no matter what age you are.

That is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Mostly because I have been second guessing my own path.

Whether it was the right move to pursue a master’s degree in library science when my whole life all I wanted to be was a writer. Really questioning whether that choice was me going down my plan B path, instead of focusing solely on my plan A.

It has felt like a defeatist mindset to wonder these things, but it has also lit a fire under me in terms of motivation to get back to working on plan A.

Let me note that – sure, I love that I have a master’s degree in library science and I love being a librarian.

That isn’t what my doubt is about – and for those that find themselves wondering similar things, I know you get where I am coming from.

I’ve set out to make those changes this year by submitting more of my written work than ever before. Still not published, but it’s the journey – not the destination (or so I keep telling myself).

Last night I did the ultimate “check off the dream chasing bucket list”. I attended a writing drop-in (via Google Meet) at The Second City Chicago. If you’re familiar with Saturday Night Live or improv you will know how spectacular Second City is.

My dream, for a very long time, was to attend writing classes at The Second City Chicago – where many SNL greats got their start (if you know me personally, you know my admiration for Tina Fey).

Plans don’t always go the way we dream them up.

However, for two hours last night – I was living that dream. That little inner flame that has felt dim lately, ignited completely last night.

I got a taste of what it would be like to pursue what I love in practice, and maybe it was the enthusiasm of the instructor (shout out to Andrew McCammon). But overall, I think it was the energy of experiencing what I had always dreamed of doing.

What is something you always dreamed you would be doing in the lifetime? Did you ever pursue it?

This year may not be the year to do it, there’s a lot going on in the world (everything is seemingly on fire around us 95 percent of the time).

But if not now, when? No seriously. Put it on the calendar and hold yourself accountable for that future date.

I’ve always been a dreamer. I just stopped dream chasing for a bit, but I’m back and I’m ready to fail until I find success…what about you?

The Sounds of Joy

By Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

When I first started this blog, it was mostly so I could get into the habit of daily writing again. Something I knew would bring me happiness, and maybe a few people would like to read what I had to say.

Lately, I have been trying to figure out what it is I want to keep sharing on this blog or if I should have a particular focus. I concluded that …I don’t think I have a conclusion on that.

I am a lover of music, pop culture, books, and many things that most folks don’t particularly know about me. So far, that is what I have been sharing on this blog – sharing pieces of myself & the things I love. And I think that is how I will continue – for now.

On another note…don’t you love weekends that feel like resets? That is what I had this weekend, and it was beautiful.

For the first time since the beginning of March I looked forward to a Zoom call. I was able to connect with a good friend, catch up, and talk about our experiences with writing. Incredibly refreshing and fired me up with motivation.

The other highlight from this weekend was decorating for my favorite holiday. Yes I am a person that decorates way too early, and no I have no shame in that.

My new fiber optic tree that is giving me all the vibes of joy that I knew I needed this year.

But I do know it is way too early to start writing about the meaning of Christmas, so I will transition into a few song suggestions that are guaranteed to bring you a sense of joy and wonder…not holiday related.  

1. I am America – Shea Diamond


Okay…have you watched We’re Here on HBO or are you light years beyond everything that is fabulously Queer in the world? This is the theme song to the show, and let me just say… I sincerely think there should be a petition for this to be the new Queer anthem of the US. Anyway, listen to the song and go watch the TV show on HBO (no excuse if you don’t have HBO, free trials exist ya’ll…)

2. I Love Yous – Hailee Steinfeld  


Yes, you are right this song sounds familiar because it is a sample off of Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love You’s”. Maybe this song is for you, maybe it isn’t … I will say for me – I had this song on repeat for months when it first dropped a few months back. It’s catchy and allows you to be overly dramatic as if you’re living in a break-up scene in a movie.

3. To R. – Father John Misty


My music taste is all over the spectrum, I know. Father John Misty reminds me a bit of Nick Drake (I said a bit). I am a fan of his music, and I discovered his music from another one of my favorites who listens to him – Geographer. If you’re looking for music to relax to, I fully recommend this song.

4. So Emotional – Whitney Houston


Sometimes I just need to dance it out, and I usually turn Whitney on when I need to do that. It is amazing how healing breaking out into randomly dancing can be. Between this song, and “I Want to Dance With Somebody” …I know what artist I can depend on to dance me out of any funk.

5. Sugar Baby – Megan Thee Stallion

I don’t think I could call myself a fan of music if I didn’t recognize a song off of Megan Thee Stallion’s debut album (that just dropped on Friday). This is one of my favorite songs off the album, simply because of the beat and the feel good vibe to it. The entire album deserves a listen because, damn that woman is dripping with talent.

Remember, even in our darkest of days – there is still music to shimmer some light into the cracks.

Pretzels & Poetry

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

Let me start off by saying, I know I can’t be the only one who has felt topsy-turvy over the past few weeks.

This year I have been allowing myself to feel those kinds of feelings, but I am regretful that my weekly blog posting has suffered because of it.

I’m keeping it short, simple, and savory today.

A friend of mine that I used to coach with has been baking a lot of scrumptious things and recently she went on a soft pretzel baking spree. I love a good soft pretzel – anytime, anywhere. So seeing her post these delicious homemade ones made me curious to attempt to bake them myself.

I love to bake, but mostly cookies and cakes. So, I had never purchased yeast before and I didn’t know where I was supposed to find it in the grocery store (full disclosure I truly thought you had to go to some sort of organic or hipster grocery store to find it – go ahead laugh, I know.)

Thankfully my friend did not judge my ignorance and told me I could find packets of yeast in the baking aisle of a grocery store (this was my complete duh moment, but still forever grateful for her help in upping my adulting points.)

Shout out to the pretzel bites in the back because I dropped half the dough for what was supposed to be a sixth pretzel…

They turned out decent for my first attempt … except mine were thicker than expected. If you’re interested these are the ingredients I used (some modifications due to recommendation):

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
4 cups of flour
3 tablespoons of oil, divided
1/3 cup of baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
Sea Salt to top them off
(because I couldn’t find coarse salt)

The rest of the steps can be found on Tasty through this link.

And I would like to end this post today with a poem that pops back into my mind every year around the holiday season. A good friend of mine shared it with me and I am forever grateful she did – so this is my gift to my readers, to pass it on to you all in hopes that you too appreciate it.

“I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party” by Chen Chen
found on Poets.org

In the invitation, I tell them for the seventeenth time
(the fourth in writing), that I am gay.

In the invitation, I include a picture of my boyfriend
& write, You’ve met him two times. But this time,

you will ask him things other than can you pass the
whatever. You will ask him

about him. You will enjoy dinner. You will be
enjoyable. Please RSVP.

They RSVP. They come.
They sit at the table & ask my boyfriend

the first of the conversation starters I slip them
upon arrival: How is work going?

I’m like the kid in Home Alone, orchestrating
every movement of a proper family, as if a pair

of scary yet deeply incompetent burglars
is watching from the outside.

My boyfriend responds in his chipper way.
I pass my father a bowl of fish ball soup—So comforting,

isn’t it? My mother smiles her best
Sitting with Her Son’s Boyfriend

Who Is a Boy Smile. I smile my Hurray for Doing
a Little Better Smile.

Everyone eats soup.
Then, my mother turns

to me, whispers in Mandarin, Is he coming with you
for Thanksgiving? My good friend is & she wouldn’t like

this. I’m like the kid in Home Alone, pulling
on the string that makes my cardboard mother

more motherly, except she is
not cardboard, she is

already, exceedingly my mother. Waiting
for my answer.

While my father opens up
a Boston Globe, when the invitation

clearly stated: No security
blankets. I’m like the kid

in Home Alone, except the home
is my apartment, & I’m much older, & not alone,

& not the one who needs
to learn, has to—Remind me

what’s in that recipe again, my boyfriend says
to my mother, as though they have always, easily

talked. As though no one has told him
many times, what a nonlinear slapstick meets

slasher flick meets psychological
pit he is now co-starring in.

Remind me, he says
to our family.

Let it Rain into Self-Motivation

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

Whenever it rains, especially for consecutive days – I always wish I was living in Seattle. I sometimes ponder to myself, if I have to deal with rainy days – why can’t it be in my favorite city?

I have had a thing for Seattle since my pre-teen years, and I don’t really know where the origin of my love for the city came from (I’ve only visited once, and this was way after I self declared it as my favorite city).

I do know my love for the city increased once Grey’s Anatomy premiered when I was in middle school (Yes my Sundays and Thursdays were once dedicated to that show & nothing else. No I don’t still watch, I stopped after Sandra Oh left the show). 

*The above photos are from the ONE and ONLY trip I have ever taken to Seattle. (yes, it was a spontaneous trip that I booked last minute, solo for my 25th birthday.)*

The truth is, I have been in a “anywhere but here” mindset lately – as I assume many of us may be. It has made it easier to lose sight of what I can be doing to take care of myself and my own well being.

So this week, with intention, I made a list of goals (I love lists, I am guilty of that). 

At the end of my list, I wrote a reminder to myself: If you stay focused, and get it done – you will find success. Easier said/written than done? Sure.

However, “success” is how YOU define it – and for me success is accomplishing what I want to get done to build towards my future self. As if I am investing in my future self – that to me is success.

Do lists work for you? Have you ever tried making a list- whether it is 2,3,5, or 10 things?

Need an example of a few things? (I’ll share a few that were on mine – I only wrote about 8 things) Don’t be afraid to start small, sometimes creating larger lists sets us up for disappointment, instead of “success”. 

A few off of my list: 

-Cook a comforting meal
-Work on manuscript for book
-Create more art/paintings 
-Schedule daily time to exercise (like, two days)
-Submit more writings for publication 

Crossed off the cooking a comforting meal off of my list last night. I love making chili this time of year, and it always has to spicy. As most things need to be that I eat.

Try it, make a list, and see if it works. Maybe it won’t, but at least you can say you tried. 

And to end this rainy day post.. I’ll leave you with a song that I’ve had on repeat for the majority of this week…

Time to Reset

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

I’ve taken a clear pause on posting any writings. My creativity came to a screeching halt over the past few weeks, hard. 

For some days I was in a dark place, and I am grateful for those around me that helped to pull me out. I haven’t been in a space like that in a few years – which to me, was a wake up call. 

I’m planning on being intentional this week and in the coming weeks in setting my journey for the future – what are YOU doing intentionally for yourself?

We’ve also had a bit of a reset in the United States recently, gratefully. Although the hard truth is the majority of white people still voted for a man that stands for hate in all forms. Which means, I and other white people, still have a lot to do in terms of listening, and taking action. 

My partner and I had this song on repeat yesterday (I’m So Excited by The Pointer Sisters) – it brought us joy, and I hope it brings you joy as well.