Damn near a year. That’s how long it’s taken me to revisit this blog. I considered deleting it, and even announced a shutdown date a few months back. Obviously, I didn’t shut it down. Really, I think I like it here with you; it’s peaceful here (for now). Also, as for the day I write my last blog here? I prefer to think of it as somewhat of a future formation of a black dwarf star…a far-off event that is likely, but only theoretical at this point.
So let’s dig in.
If you’ve been reading here and on Medium, you know the very public story of my tragic uterus. The gory details are out there, so I’ll spare you the recap in this post. I’ll only say that I don’t know if I’ll try for a baby again, but I’m also not sure if I’ll prevent myself from trying. There’s a warm space in between those two choices, and I’ve nestled myself in it for now.
If my own clock runs out, I can adopt. If I decide that’s too heavy, I’ll get a cat. Now that my tears have dried over the issue, it’s no big deal. What is a big deal is me writing my black ass off. Trudging along at between 3k-5k words every time I glue my booty to the seat of my breakfast nook.
First, I published a book of poetry. I collected all the work I really loved, compiled it, and put it out. Now, I’ll rinse and repeat with other projects. A little slower, though. Writing and publishing fiction is a thrilling, tiresome ride. But…you’re not really here to yammer on about that either.
So, about the state of other things.
I spent these past few months closer to family than friends. Maybe it was because for awhile I hyper-focused on my father’s death and my brother’s incarceration, intermingling the two layers of mourning until I was suddenly underneath them. Like they were canopied over my life like two dense, scratchy, winter blankets–uncomfortable yet familiar.
In the midst of clinging to my partner and family during that period, an impending dread was mounting in me. I could feel myself unraveling, threads I’d pulled so tightly finally began giving way under the tension–and the tension was pouring in from all sides.
The pressure to shed the weight from a baby I wasn’t able to have.
The anxiety from the hours of writing I missed while laying, catatonic in the basement guest room to avoid sleeping in my bed.
The shame of what felt like (and still feels like) a failure from a body that has seldom failed me. A body that rises, walks, runs, sits, and bleeds. A body that climbed volcanos in Costa Rica and inverted on a spinning pole in Temple Hills. A body that produced a sturdy boy who now towers above me and is, in every sense of the word, a beautiful child.
I didn’t know how to mend this one, either. I shuffled through my personal library for some type of literary elixir, reaching for my favorite dog-eared poems and chapters. But nothing I found was able to unearth me after I’d sunken completely into a funk, so I eventually gave up on that route.
I decided that whatever book (of mine) was coming, I didn’t owe its deadline to anyone. A similar decision was made about social engagements, smiles, and texts. I didn’t have them to give, so I didn’t. I finally stopped clawing and just let myself slip deeper into the quicksand. Then, I waited to see what met me on the other side. In that dark space, only one piece of advice reached me.
Pfft. I read all the time, I scoffed. Don’t see how it’ll help this time.
And it’s not like I was incorrect. I read for work and consume books at a semi-decent rate for a busy adult. I read comic books, manga, and nonfiction stuff to help me budget and save. But this wasn’t that. In my slump, I read everything else, including the poems that my dad wrote to my mom after my oldest brother, his first son, was born.
Then, down the rabbit hole I went. I sat on the floor of my attic library and dug into the critically acclaimed, best sellers I’d been collecting for some time but never quite finished. Books that are/were rocking worlds and blowing minds and making money. Then, I went back and read my stories with fresh eyes and discovered that thing–you know?
That thing that I knew for some time, and that others had been telling me. It’s that thing I never trusted until now because I had deep sense of imposter syndrome that had nothing to do with my level of skill as a writer and everything to do with the way I viewed myself as a woman.
What is it? The thing is: I’m no less a writer than anyone on that bookshelf. There’s a few years difference between myself and some of them (up and down), and many varied paths, but other than that the wall I’d put up mentally about what they’ve done and I’ve done isn’t a real one.
And for once, I didn’t just have an inner revelation and emotionally warehouse it. I also didn’t just internalize just it to make myself feel better, either. Instead, I did the only thing that divides me from every accomplished writer I’ve encountered. I did–and I’m still doing–the fucking work.
Quirky Black Sci-Fi Tales: Volume 1 will be released on October 5. I was invited to be a moderator at ATL’s Multiversecon this year in mid-October (14-18), and I plan to sell some signed hard copies there. The next collection drops right behind it, and that’ll be my last self-published work as I query the YA novel I’ve been working on. Moonie, my pilot about a messy, Muslim girl, is nearly done too.
A season of (further) abundance is coming, and I’ve earned it. In the midst of a somewhat tragic year on this somewhat tragic planet, I’ve found my stride.
My baby brother will be away for 136 months. We told each other on a brief, heavily monitored phone call that we’d both see what we could do with our time. I just have two things, really.
Get closer to God.
Luckily for me, the first thing is always on the agenda. As for the second thing, I now see that it’s inextricably tied to the first.
“Let’s get this shit.“–Kendrick Lamar.