It took me a long time to write this because I moved on a falsehood, ya’ll. So let me break this down.
I stared at her words for a long time, considering them. Flipping them over in my head and examining them as one would a rare coin in their hands. Read More
With a glass of champagne in one hand and my phone in the other, I casually snapped shots of party goers as they chatted, played cards, or lamented the political climate. At the dining area table, one group had brilliantly blended all three. As I darted between both rooms of the suite my sister and I were only able to afford because we booked months in advance and used disposable flatware left over from my mom’s haaj celebration, I couldn’t help but feel like a curly-coiffed, glittering ball of black magic. At times I caught my reflection in the arrangement of beveled, hexagonal mirrors that adorned the wall near the bar, and paused to admire the new lines and curves of my arms and legs. All of it earned from several rigorous weeks of pole dancing classes. So this is 35? I let the thought wash over me in a gentle way this time, and the apprehension I felt when I celebrated my actual birthday in Costa Rica a few months back was gone. And that was a relief, because in the months leading up to the excursion I’d hit a down spiral so disorienting that I could barely discern up from down while inside of it: had I gotten better, or worse? The question itself was a wormhole, efficient enough in its pull to leave me feeling emotionally churned and altered as it sucked me in. Traversable worm holes are hypothetical, after all, and transmutative ones? Sci-fi entirely. Yet there I was, with questions swirling at me from all sides: am I a good person? Mother? Friend? Writer? Am I in any way…better? Read More
This birthday is a milestone year for me, and so far it’s been packed with enough revelation, accomplishment, and teachable moments for me to now comfortably say that I am not entirely fearless, but I’m as close to it as I’ve ever been.
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.”
So here we are. Read More
Ultimately, we can’t emotionally terraform another human being. We can’t come at a fiery, gaseous-planet-version of a person and convert them into a lush green oasis at our whim.
Before new stars can fully form, some ancient star has to blow itself to bits and be broken down to space dust. Then those bits and dust just float out there in the darkness looking sparkly and random until they fuse together and birth new stars. But after that, the glow up is inevitable. So fear not. Even if your life feels dismantled and scattered right now, accept it as part of your process. Transitional phases are as necessary as they are scary. You got this.
What I gained from slowing down and becoming more outcome-oriented was a better understanding of one rule: I’ll never get to any desired outcome without braving the middle of it.