ITS BRAAP! The ABC from conception to today.

It's good to start from the beginning. Go right back to the foundations so we can understand the journey. With this in mind we'll take a look at the history of this blog which will also highlight how, as humans, we can struggle to maintain something we were once very passionate about. How life suddenly presents us with situations that take over our emotions and drain our energy, leaving us feeling deplete and as if we are a failure simply because we are mentally unable to take on everything we did before. Let's also add that many of us find it hard to do things that will help us progress whereas we will do things for other people regardless of the pressure in order to fulfil their expectations. Yes, it's crazy but a sad truth that we may need to address.

We will now begin at the beginning. I started this blog with much fear and trepidation back in October 2011, having commissioned the above logo since harbouring a huge desire to speak about many things that inspire me on a daily basis. My first ever blog was on MySpace, commencing 2007, where I tackled anything and everything from serious issues to do with everyday life and love, to the ridiculous-  having been in some exceptionally nasty public toilets, one day I devised a silly questionnaire on the subject and June, my online friend said, 'Jaz, I can't believe I'm actually filling this in!' I also composed an open letter to Kylie Minogue about her boring perfume names- Darling and Darling Darling, along with a suggested job application form to be completed by people interested in rolling Lenny Kravitz spliffs as he was supposedly looking for someone at the time. One of my favourite posts was a short poem about the puppy my son brought home for the weekend named Dolce. Even before this dog was returned to its owner my boys exchanged their American dollars for ££££'s and bought a mastiff/pit bull mix of a puppy off a woman in the park and brought her home. Should have just said no, not, 'We don't have the money for a puppy.' They got 10/10 for initiative and persistence. Nick named that bitch KAOS.... totally unsuitable but that was the least of my concerns!

My Space was the first place I shared my poetry having discovered an ability to write poems in 2004. This occurred when a child in our nursery died from meningitis over the Christmas holidays. I cannot express how shocking this was and I am sure we all remember Zachary to this day. I gave a copy of the poem to Zachary's parents and they loved it, so I'm glad it brought some comfort. Following this, I didn't really pursue my poetry until I was able to share it, hence my appreciation for Myspace.

Creating an interesting profile became a passion and I was very grateful to my colleague who showed me how to code and customise. This was a mini miracle- at the time I didn't even know how to cut and paste! However, passion overcame fear and I went on to complete an NVQ level 2 in ICT. My profile page included many of my interests allowing people to click on videos of music, dance and much more. This resulted in people commenting that my 'Queen Jaz'  page was more of a magazine, resulting in people asking me to review their music videos and more. At some point I was asked to take over a page for a Reggae musician who had been creating a name for himself and then committed a serious offense which resulted in him spending many years locked up in Sing Sing prison. For some reason unknown to myself, I agreed to do this and used to communicate with him. I never asked about his crime although he told me at some point that it was to do with self defence. Regardless, this was an interesting time as I learnt so much about the freedom of our minds through a man who was physically incarcerated; subsequently writing a few poems around the subject.

During this period in which I commenced my online presence I had pretty severe depression which lasted a few years. At the time my kids were in school so I needed to function at home and was working as a nursery manager, so had to keep myself together. I managed to negate all this by occupying an amazing alternative space within my head whenever possible, seeing myself interviewing people, creating a ballet story and all sorts of things. This level of creativity astounded me and I wanted to share it all with the world, hence my joy at finding Myspace. Although at that time I didn't know anything at all about thoughts becoming things, I have since acknowledged how the universe has worked in my life and clearly guided and inspired me, resulting in the creation of this blog which meant I could really start focusing on my writing and sharing inspirational content. My first biggest challenge- creating a lively, engaging name. At the time a friend had signed me up to Facebook, which I had resisted, where I became very active helping run a Reggae group. I enjoyed helping to structure this and spent hours online. At the time I kept seeing BRAAAAAP!!!!! in chat rooms of online radio stations, a term people used to express their love of the music. This was catchy, so I claimed it and added 'ITS' to make more of a statement, So here we are; one fully fledged blog.

Due to the unusual name I was often asked what Braap stands for- clearly, Be Ready And Act Promptly, because if you don't you'll miss opportunities! What I have found is that people do like the name and remember it very easily- In the past, people have even used Braap as my nickname... no comment! 

When I started to blog I posted everyday and ran a weekly series for an entire year- yes, the original Blogathons! The Blogathons are still available in the archives and cover many everyday issues, providing advice and motivation. I had occasional guest writers at that point, which is something I would like to reinstate.

As my writing style appealed to people I gathered a reputation as being an excellent writer and progressed from reviewing dance and music to being asked to cover events which included the 'Everybody Dreams' campaign. This was a real milestone for Gladesmore Community School who managed to propel their pupils' record into the pop charts and it remains a very powerful song to this day. Everybody Dreams came about because the pupils of this Tottenham based school did not like being associated with the sordid image acquired at the time due to the Tottenham riots. They wanted to disassociate themselves and do something to project their positive approach to life. Having a very forward thinking head teacher at the time, a totally brilliant campaign was born and executed, including the Flashmob which had been approved by the mayor of London: an event I was invited to witnessing the energy and passion of these young people. You can use the search box, top right, to find out more about this awesome campaign.

One of the greatest collaborations resulting from a post on this blog was being invited to be part of team Urban Delight Entertainment. That opened doors to many interesting experiences and I have come to know many wonderful people. Macky, the creator & C.E.O of the company and I are friends to this day and I am sure there are more ventures ahead. Thanks to Macky I went on a helicopter ride to Bournemouth and met Errol Kennedy, drummer of major pop group Imagination. 

Another person I collaborated with in a major way over the years is Mozez, ex lead singer of extremely successful group Zero 7. Mozez totally fascinates me from his music to his astral travel experiences, all of which can be found via the search facility.  Mozez formed his own record label Numen Records to offer artists a much better deal than they receive with the large companies. 

Over the years I began to focus more on other people's work, neglecting my own talents. Whilst this is a really important element of the blog, as I believe we inspire each other in many ways, at the same time I started losing my passion. This could in part have been due to reaching a point where I think my identity slipped too far away from me. However, during those years life changed dramatically and I experienced a high number of personal issues and subsequent drama. As I had not learnt the art of 'letting go,' my energy levels dipped and the blog suffered. In recent years I have learnt techniques to keep focused and whilst far from perfect, am trying to keep a good balance in life. Currently I am working fulltime in childcare, which can be exhausting, and studying a level 7 Life Coaching course, so have a great deal going on. For these reasons I am committing to posting a minimum of one blog a week and will take it from there. The main aim is to keep the content a good mixture of different elements, so having written two articles we will progress to a video for the next post.

I do hope you have enjoyed this update and would love to see you supporting Its Braap by liking, commenting on and sharing the posts. Thank you.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician
Facebook groups: Its Braap  What's Up Jaz