Friends in a digital world….


My best friend and I would literally talk for 5 hours at a time when we moved away from each other. In fact, we still do! We’ve been friends since we were around 12 and sometimes I wonder if bonds like that are still possible. It seems that the older that you get and the more digital things become the weaker your bonds are to one another. Posting comments on photos and sharing inspirational quotes on Facebook seems to be the new friendship of our age. It’s totally acceptable to not even speak to your “friends” anymore. What with texting, facebook, twitter, youtube and even linkedin for professional friends, who needs talking?

I can’t help but feel like these new digital tools that were made to make it easier to interact with one another  have in fact made it that much harder to make meaningful relationships with each other. Have we all become so boring and socially awkward that we are incapable of having a phone conversation? Call me old school, but I think it’s imperative to have some kind of real life talking, seeing, feeling interaction with people. So much is taken out of context or miss-communicated in writing,  and yet we all take it as gold. Have you ever noticed your “tone” in your head as you read something? It’s actually quite a fun little game to play with yourself. As you’re reading your friends status updates, tweets or whatever listen to your inner voice and notice what kind of tone you’re using. You might think that something was quite catty when the person meant for it to be humorous. Your inner tone can really dictate the direction that you take something in writing. I’ve noticed this in my book club recently that some of the girls interpreted things totally different than I would have. It’s their inner tone shaping the way things were said by the characters, either because of their own experiences or maybe just their mood when they read it.

So, we basically form relationships with our own interpretations of someone else. We are not even giving them the chance to be authentic in an in person experience. On top of that, no one is really sharing anything real about their lives on social media. Your friend is not going to get on there and say “man I am so depressed, I cried all night and no one even knows what is going on”. Well, I guess they might, but you really wouldn’t get the full impact of what happened or how they were feeling. Your tone would take over and maybe you would think “what a baby, so annoying”. You wouldn’t hear the pain in their voice or see the desperation in their eyes. If you really stop to think about it, do you have any idea what is going on in your friends lives? Are you just basing your information on social media and your internal interpretation?

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Perhaps this is the new age of friendship. Maybe I am asking too much from people to build bonds with each other like that of my best friend and I.  Bonds that share deeply our feelings and experiences. Is it simply that she lived all of my life experiences with me since I was 12, or is it that we put a genuine effort into  our friendship in a way that most refuse to these days? Either way, I can’t help but feel sorry for society in general as we continue to pave the path of obsolete genuine interactions with one another. In the age of not enough time, we substitute real time and effort in our friendships with the occasional facebook interaction.

I hope that we have not become completely incapable of forming these bonds with one another.  I hope that our judgments of people based on our own interpretations of them through social media have not become our truth. I will try to check my tone at the door when facebooking, but I think that it’s a natural and very real auto pilot. I will try to separate my feelings from others perspectives, actions and situations and treat them just as that, theirs, as they really have nothing to do with me personally and all to do with that specific person and their own experiences, which are not for me to judge.  I will attempt to curb my own personal feelings towards someone else’ life. I will work towards forming friendships with people that are not limited to social media, texting and E-mail interactions and my interpretations of them based on that. People tend to “surprise the hell out of me” in the words of Vivian from Pretty Woman. If you take the time to truly get to know someone in all their faults and all their glory, I think they will surprise the hell out of you too.

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Addiction


I used to have roommate that would say “Tiffany, everyone does some kind of drug, you just have to decide which one you’re OK with”. She’d remind me of this every time I was whining about my latest dead beat boyfriend and their alcohol, weed, coke or whatever issues. While I never completely bought into this theory as I myself did not partake in drugs and very rarely would with alcohol, I admittedly saw her point. The doctor put the fear of death in my head at a very young age due to my heart problem, I guess I might have experimented more if not for that.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about these issues on a much broader scale. What if, everyone is addicted to something? One of my other close friends once said to me “Tiffany, you like these outward artistic things because you need to be seen, you weren’t seen enough as a child.” Do I need to be seen? Am I addicted to the prospect of being seen? If so, what does the word mean within this context? If I am addicted to it, then perhaps it’s a bad thing as addiction suggests. On the other hand, if my addiction drives me to stardom then it’s just called drive. At what point does something we’re addicted to become dangerous to our well being? Be it a recreational drug or something as simple as a feeling. Perhaps, they are one in the same. Perhaps, we create the feeling we’re addicted to by continuously putting our-self in harms way. Either with alcohol, drugs or simply situations….

I don’t know if I am addicted to needing to be seen, I might need to continue soul searching on that one. However, I will admit that there was a time in my life that I might have been addicted to being the victim. I say this not because I was a huge drama queen, I think I was quite the opposite. There just seemed to be situation after situation after situation after situation where I was continuously a broken record of victimization. It seemed every wonderful thing that would manifest in my life would promptly be met with some kind of major dramatic and unbelievable event.

I can recall when I was 16 my friends and I got all dressed up and went downtown Seattle for Mardi Gras. Granted, that entire sentence already sounds like it will and should end badly. It did. I remember very little from the actual event except that a bouncer from a local club magically scooped me from the pavement I was being trampled on and walked me to the rest room through a gawking crowd of onlookers. Upon entering the ladies room I fell to my knees in the wet poorly lit cramped room staring up the barley there skirts of the 20 something’s stepping over me. I was confused and dizzy on the verge of a panic attach. I remember one girl making some snarky remark “whatever you do honey, don’t look in the mirror.” While it was unsolicited advice, I was thankful for it later once I finally did get a glimpse of myself in the local hospital mirror.

My left eye drooped onto itself as I checked to make sure all my teeth were in-tacked. I later found out that I had taken a blow to the face from the wrong end of a skate board, deliberately. I immediately understood the awed looks and the reporter camera flashes that followed me after the incident while being escorted from the bathroom to the ambulance. I escaped the scene with a broken nose, cracked rib, fractured elbow and two gaping black eyes. Which is more than I can say for the poor girl that was stripped, raped and beaten to death, no crueler fate I thought. The next day I would grace the front page of the local newspaper keeled over holding my bloodied mouth. Things like this just seemed to happen to me, and at the time it was completely inexplicable in my mind. I just figured that I simply had bad luck and a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

During a trip to San Francisco with an old friend we sluggishly and drunkenly walked back to our friends house late one night after a local concert. It was something she had done a million times before in the same neighborhood. During the walk I noticed a group of young woman crying on the side walk. Because they were near my age, and women, I stopped to make sure they were OK. My friends carried on ahead laughing at my constant “need to save the world” approach to every situation. I offered the girls some water and to help call a cab.  The woman sobbing with her face to the wall turned toward me with a devilish grin having made a miraculous recovery from her troubles while her friends surrounded me like a pack of calculated wolves. I was still completely unaware that anything was amiss at this point as I patted the girl on the back in an effort to reassure her that now everything would fine.

I was met with a bottle of mace unloaded directly into my face. Being 24,I of course, clang to my newly found vintage purse that had no cash or real assets inside. I kicked blindly in the air as pathetic as a cockroach desperately trying to turn back over onto it’s belly, vicious and vulnerable all at once. The mace kept streaming out into my face, my eyes, my nose, my very existence itself. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided that the clutch would have to go! I released it and the girls hopped into a waiting car near by. Being the strong woman that I am and that always gets herself through these things, I somehow managed to call and cancel all my credit cards while laying in the street probably clinically blind. I credit this to my persistent TXT messaging and literally memorizing the feelings of the keys and number under my thumb.

I think by now you’re getting the picture. Bad shit happened. It happened a lot. Inexplicable completely outrageous this doesn’t happen to other people on a regular basis bad shit. Until, one day I decided bad shit wasn’t going to happen anymore. Bad shit was going to be my bitch. I decided that I would break up with bad shit and end my addiction. I just started to take leaps of faith completely believing that it would work out, somehow someway and ever since, shit has been working out. Not just working out, but it’s been a complete shift in my reality.

So, my question is. Are we blindly addicted to our feelings? To the feelings we get when we drink, or snort a line or just get kicked in the face while we’re down. As a result of those additions, do we then continue to create those situations unknowingly in order to feed them? I think we do. I think that until we can be brutally honest with ourselves and what our emotional addictions are that we will continue to be victims. We will continue to reach for the bottle, the line, the needle the punch to the face until we can confront those addictions head on.

Stop. Stop now and think, what are you creating unnecessarily in your life because you’re addicted to the feeling? You’ve become so accustom to being scared, down on your luck, drunk or whatever….  that you unconsciously need those feelings. Begin to forgive yourself, begin to forgive others. Give yourself permission to be worth more. Give yourself permission to Let it go.

Tiffany Grace: The Scandalous Sinterview


My Latest interview with Scandalous Women’s Magazine:  http://www.scandalouswomen.com/ 

She was the young girl who hated who she saw in the mirror, the awkward duckling who became the sexy confident swan. Silhouette Records recording artist Tiffany Grace knows what it’s like to be afraid. Growing up in an abusive environment, music was her filter and eventual savior. Now on the cusp of her second album and engaged to the man of her dreams, Ms. Grace is living the dream. She recently took time out from her busy schedule to discuss music, life and, of course, sex, with Scandalous!

SCANDALOUS: I see you’re getting married. Who is the lucky guy?

Tiffany Grace: We’ll just call him Mr. Devereaux.

SCANDALOUS: Sounds mysterious. How did you meet him?

Tiffany Grace: We actually met on E-harmony after I finally gave in to my mother’s relentless persistence on the matter. I was planning a 3 month trip through Europe to “find myself” and she was very apprehensive, I think she wanted me to find a “nice young man” and finally settle down in hopes I wouldn’t go on my trip. I met Mr. Devereaux the day after I called to cancel my subscription and was convinced to stay one more week. I actually did end up canceling my trip and moved in with my fiancé about 2 months after we met, it was pretty crazy.

SCANDALOUS: E-harmony should totally hire you as a spokesperson! So, how is he adapting being with someone with such an outwardly sexy image?

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Tiffany Grace: I think that he understands and appreciates my art. I’ve always had trouble with men in the past that were OK with it at first and then not so much once they saw me romping around with actor / model Jason E. Thomas in my music video Sleeping With The Enemy. My goal as an artist is to help woman embrace their sexuality within themselves and really get comfortable with their bodies and self image. If you notice, Jason and I never actually kissed or made any skin to skin contact. It may appear to have been so, but in fact it was just the illusion and I felt that made it much sexier. It was a last minute choice as Jason and I had practiced “the kiss” in the audition as a possibility. So, Mr. Devereaux didn’t come into the picture until after we shot the video and that might have helped! He sometimes doesn’t like to watch certain parts.

SCANDALOUS: You mentioned jokingly you’ve lost the most weight you ever have without sticking a finger down your throat. Do you have an eating disorder and can you offer advice to the young women reading this on such things?

Tiffany Grace: I am currently the healthiest I’ve ever been mind body and soul. I suffered from bulimia and anorexia for years after my father died. Women will describe the disorder as a sense of control and it is. I am 5’8 and I was 105 at my smallest. It was then that I was checked into the hospital and given an IV for dehydration. I gradually came to terms with my tarnished self image and slowly started the recovery process. It was painful steps that were taken to trick myself into eating properly again, smaller portions and lots of liquid fruit. This is going to sound crazy, but the best thing for young women to do would be mirror positive affirmations. Every day you look at yourself in the mirror and find one nice thing to say about your body. Start small; maybe “I have nice nails” or “I have nice hair” work up to looking at yourself naked and saying “My body is a perfect vessel.” After all, our physical forms are merely reflections of our mental state.

SCANDALOUS: Your last album, Naked Singularity, was very sexy and you seem to have projected a retro-image for yourself, one resembling the R&B divas of the 70s and 80s. Was that by design?

Tiffany Grace: Well, yes and no. I’ve always felt I was born in the wrong era and I’ve doted over artist from the 40s and 50s the most I think. I’ve always had what my mom likes to call “a wacky sense of style”. I think that the 70s and 80s part probably shines through from when I was a child. My influences are drawn from all over really and range from classical, blues and hip-hop. I’ve talked to some artist that won’t listen to any other music while in the writing and recording process. I’m exactly the opposite; I listen to everything I can get my hands on. I have an obsessive need to be different. I joke with my friends that in my world everyday is prom and god forbid I’m caught wearing the same outfit as another girl.

SCANDALOUS: Some of the music on that album sounds as though it came from a personal place, for example, Unbroken Soul. Have you ever had to escape an abusive relationship?

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Tiffany Grace: I grew up in an incredibly abusive family. All my life I resisted falling victim to the same as an adult. These things have a way of following you around when you try to suppress them instead of dealing with them head on. Abuse isn’t something that comes on right away, it’s a process that men take to slowly break you down. I was right smack in the middle of a verbally abusive relationship that gradually turned physical and ended when my EX ordered me out of his car, but purposely took off before I had fully exited, dragging me at 40 miles per hour through a graveled parking lot nearly 15 feet. Mind you, I was wearing a dress and suffered multiple wounds on my legs. I pressed charges and filed for a restraining order as all women should do. This is not a “class” issue, this happens to all women from all walks of life with varied levels of education and even privilege. It is not something to be ashamed of, it’s time to speak out on and join forces to educate on this dark matter. “Unbroken Soul” is not my favorite song, it’s written awkwardly, I’m singing while crying through most of it and it’s almost painful to listen to in many ways not just because of the content. I put it on the album despite all of this because this was my final insult. I think I knew he would hear it and that was the reason I put it on there. To say, I am not broken, you failed.

SCANDALOUS: That’s terrible. I think there are many girls who can identify with controlling boyfriends and I’m glad you took action against him. A lot of women would have been afraid to. There was also the song I Want You Both. If I interpreted the words correctly, it’s about trying to carry on a relationship with two men at once. Was this something you experienced? How did it work out?

Tiffany Grace: Who hasn’t wanted to carry on a relationship with two men at once at some point in their life? There was a time in my life when I was dating several men at once. Men do this all the time; they call it the numbers game. Only they do it in hopes that one of us will eventually sleep with them. I did it because I wanted to experience different interactions with all different kinds of men. I dated men of all kinds of nationalities, religions, wealth and walks of life. My fiance would probably wince reading that. I was young and curious, at the time I really had no idea what I wanted in a partner, so I explored. I encourage all women to go through this at some time in their lives. Give yourself options; you have to know what you don’t want to appreciate what you do when you get it. Your sexuality is your secret weapon and if you ooze sexy but hold back, you can have any one of them whenever you decide to. If you ever in fact decide to! I found once you got to know most of them, the lust wore off fast haha.

SCANDALOUS: Scandalous readers would love to know – did you have them both at the same time in the bedroom?

Tiffany Grace: Yes, if you count the fantasy that the song was written after I experienced it on my own! I never had a ménage à trois in reality, but I think I’ve always been curious about it if not brave enough the pursue it! Any girl that says it hasn’t crossed her mind is lying! The other side of the song was also referring to two men that would have been perfect if they had parts of the other. So, in a sense I literally did want them both.

SCANDALOUS: You hear stories all the time about male musicians having a virtual buffet of women groupies. Do female performers like yourself have guys falling at their feet?

Tiffany Grace: I think that men like the idea of a performer in bed, maybe it’s an ego thing. There is something very mysterious and appealing to them about women that express power and independence. On the other hand, a lot of men will try to use your art as a tool to get into your pants. They will promise you the moon and the stars. Someone once told me “never take your money outside the club, it’ll never come back”. In other words, don’t date your fans and don’t date your creative partners. To answer your questions more bluntly, you certainly have lots of opportunities. I am not sure if that’s because I’m a musician or if I’m simply put in front of men more often!

SCANDALOUS: You come across as very sexually confident. Has that always been the case? Give us a story about when you may have been a little more awkward sexually.

Tiffany Grace: I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 16, I was incredibly awkward growing up. I always joke that I’m obsessed with fashion now because when I was a kid we were too poor to buy new clothes, so now I over compensate. I was the girl that wore a t-shirt in the pool completely ashamed of my body. I actually started keeping a “boy journal” of my continuous mishaps with men over the years. I was a living breathing real life Bridget Jones. I wrote my first entry at the age of 15 and I wrote all the way up until I met my fiancé. Growing up, sex wasn’t really a loving thing; I think I felt it was more of a duty. So, I grew up kind of dreading the entire process. I think I was 22 when I finally started to come out of my shell and realize that it was meant to be pleasurable for both parties.

SCANDALOUS: What does it take for a girl like you to get her freak on?

Tiffany Grace: This is going to sound like a cop out, but I am a sucker for witty conversation. Being that I do come across very confident, I think men are a bit intimidated by that. I used to have a friend that referred to me as “a bit of a handful” when describing me to potential dates she tried to set me up on. I thought of it as a kind of game with men, and more often than not they couldn’t keep up. Sometimes, I found someone that would rise to the challenge and that was always incredibly sexy. I think like most women, I appreciate the small things. Sometimes it’s just the way that my fiancé will kiss my neck, it always gives me goosebumps and other times it’s his look from across the room that makes my knees weak.

SCANDALOUS: You’re holding back because your fiance might read this, right?

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Tiffany Grace: Well, kind of. I wasn’t sure how far to take that question, but you’re a good reporter so you didn’t let me off the hook! haha Let’s see, recently we introduced a few toys that I purchased at a little boutique in Ventura with some girlfriends from my book club. Yes, I run a book club, but we’re not your average book club. We finished reading 50 Shades Of Greyrecently which if you have not read, I highly recommend. Most of us were like rabbits after reading it, great for relationships haha! I always felt I was a little more exploratory in the bedroom, totally open to porn or handcuffs, the typical girl thing, but the book really opened a whole new world.

SCANDALOUS: Yes, it is a very good book and it was surprising American women snatched it up in the numbers they did. How did you and your club react to it?

Tiffany Grace: Well, it’s a steamy story of an innocent virgin no less that starts a relationship with an older much more sexually experienced man. I’ll be the first to admit even I didn’t know what some of the sexual devices or methods in the book were. My book club decided that we would have a get together at a local boutique to gain more knowledge on the subject. We went over everything from lube to bondage. It was really entertaining and educational! I took home the vibrating panties and a gel, I guess you’d call it masturbator, for my Fiance. He loved both of them! I think it’s important to keep things spicy. Oh, and of course I do love my little maid outfit as well! My girlfriends and I will share with each other things we’ve tried too, one of my friends said “I loved the whip we got at the boutique, you guys want to try it!?” It’s fun to keep it a light subject, sex is a beautiful thing, we shouldn’t be ashamed.

So, yeah my fiance might blush when he reads this, but then again he might mount me! A healthy relationship needs a healthy sex life. It’s true, it’s just part of the reality. Sometimes I’m even blunt with him about it, I’ll say “are we having enough sex for you?”. It’s a regular ritual for us, sure, but you know sometimes it’s good to check in. So often people do not talk about what they need/want from each other sexually. I think this is what will cause resentment and cheating, I mean if you’re not getting what you need you’re going to get it somewhere! Sex with us is amazing, I orgasm every single time, but we talk really openly about it. He’ll just ask me if I like something, or what else I might want to combine or try. I mean, how many relationships have you been in where that happens? Our chemistry in and out of bed is fantastic, largely because I think our communication is so good. Wow, I guess I did want to elaborate on that after all!

SCANDALOUS: That’s fantastic. Great advice. So, you have a new album coming out. Tell us what we can expect from it?

Tiffany Grace: On this EP, I am going to take an entirely different approach. I think that it will be a softer side that I’ve not expressed as an artist yet. I cannot escape the edge that my voice projects, but I think this will give my fans a little more insight into my world. Also, I’m going to get back to my musical spoken word a little more on this project. I didn’t include The One That Got Away on my last album as I wasn’t sure how it would be received. (You can hear and download that track free here)  The feedback I got was that fans wanted to hear more of this kind of thing, so I’m going to give it to them! Since the debut album I received lots of constructive feedback and a little bit of heart breaking feedback too! That’s how you grow as an artist, so I took that to the studio and we’ll see what kind of reaction I get.

SCANDALOUS: Thank you Tiffany and good luck with your marriage and career. We can’t wait to hear more from you.