The first weeks of spring were marked by cold and rainy days, so when the sun came out in full force, my friends and I decided to bask in it. I called my little sister (AKA “Patron Saint of Planning Shit”), slicked my hair into ponytail with styled edges, and jumped into a backless romper with tall heels. When I walked into the house her boyfriend shares with his two friends, I was stoked to find all there there punting around ideas about how to best take in some sun. Everyone was smiling and laughing. Someone put out a spread of wings. Another paired their phone to a large speaker. For the first time that week, I felt relaxed.
And then I saw him.
He bounded down the stairs in a floral hoodie and grey joggers and we just stared at each other. Stared and stared until we finally talked to each other. Then we exchanged numbers and, to my disbelief, texted and called each other every day after that. Finally, he did the one thing that no one else had done in the three years I was single: he asked me how I felt about him, and if I could see myself being with him. And the craziest part was, I actually could. Read More
I had a crappy winter that didn’t really turn a corner for me until late Spring. I felt realigned by the time May ended, taking Ramadan with it, but then my bike accident knocked me off kilter and I spent my last few months on an uphill journey to find balance again. But even as I followed my usual regimen of self-care, I still managed to slip into free-fall emotionally as I dealt with the aftermath of managing the physical and legal side of the ordeal. All of a sudden, everything felt piled on top of my head. My creative projects and social obligations started to feel like hostage situations with my sanity as the ransom. Worse, seasonal depression lurked on the outskirts of my thoughts, waiting like a sadistic yet patient lover to welcome me back into its embrace. A release was what I needed, so that’s precisely what I set out to get. And so I turned to the solace I often find in wild summer nights. Only this time, the nights weren’t filled with exhilarating, self-destructive behavior. Instead, for the first time in a long time, I embarked on a journey for pleasure that involved considerably more self-control.
I went to New York to see a show and speak on a panel about afrofuturism last week. I hired a photog friend who recently moved up there to capture some shots of me speaking so I could use them for my personal website. After the panel, I rode the train with my photographer friend and playfully told him to delete the ones where I looked particularly fat.
I thought he’d laugh, but instead he said, “You’re serious? I always thought you loved the camera.”
“I do, but only when I control the shot.” Then, more shakily, I told him, “I just have a lot of stuff I don’t like about the way I look on camera, and plus I’ve gained weight. It gives me anxiety. It always has.”
He looked genuinely confused at that point. The train was coming and more people had gathered close to us, so he asked the question loudly. “But…why? I mean, do you ever ask yourself why that is?”
I just looked at him as I thought about all the horrible reasons that I know exactly why that is.
Before I could conjure a self-shaming joke to mask the tension, he said, “I think you should write about it.”