Showing posts from 2014

Bruh, 2014 Was One Hell of a Learning Session

By the end of each year, we flip back on old blog posts and diary pages to look at what we were so adamant about changing (or not changing) about ourselves. Praying that some inner or outer transformations occurred, trust circles shrunk and expanded, and that we know an ounce more about ourselves than we did 365 days ago. It's fun to wonder and revisit the mindset you left behind or lifted off with before all the confetti fell.   I was flapping my gums about honoring and focusing on me this year, and I think I've lived up to that more or less. I've experienced some serious highs and lows this year, channeling both sets of emotions into understanding not only my needs and wants, but how others factor into creating said emotions. A year of focus on myself turned into even greater lessons about the people I'm surrounded by. Whether I liked it at the time or not, outside elements and personalities really helped me learn about my abilities, my distractions, my limits an

Feeling Love, in Retrospect

We sat in silence, absentmindedly eyeing the backs of the wooly bus seats in front of us, occasionally stealing glances at the greenery whizzing by on our ride up from the Atlanta to New York City. Our hands were were clumsily linked at the fingers and rested on the lump of jackets between our laps. Dumb smiles plastered our 16- and 17-year-old faces. That moment could've easily been an awkward silence. But it wasn't, because just moments before, he'd asked me to be his girlfriend. And I said yes. Before that two-week college tour spent under loose adult supervision, he and I had said no more than a few words during brief hallway huddles with mutual friends. We were simply colleagues. In time, I'd learn that the L-word was more than just part of a Hallmark card greeting and the quiet, dreadlocked boy who sat on the other side of Ms. Medlin's English class would eventually claim ownership of my heart. I can't really recall the moment I said I love you fo

A Short Story About Something I Know Nothing About

This is old, very old. So old that I'm not sure if I like it anymore, so here. LOCKDOWN  I must have come on a super busy day. The struggles-of-a-baby-mama and I-hate-my-job chatter around me and the static-ridden television set showing an old episode of All My Children were hard to drown out. The smell of acrylic was making my head hurt and the short Asian man scrubbing the bottom of my feet tickled like all hell. My phone had been buzzing for damn near ten minutes and I couldn’t dig into my pocket to answer it for fear of ruining my French mani.  None of that could keep my mind from retreating to one thought and stirring up a week’s worth of worry. The only thing on my mind was how, ultimately, one word had turned into a life sentence. How could I have let that happen?  I scooped up my purse, tucked it under my arm and blew at my fingernails while being led to the nail drying station. “Careful! No touch!” my manicurist snapped at me. “Sorry, sorry,” I said, clearly

Why Can't I Find Life's Cheat Sheet?

I don't know shxt, and there's nothing I hate more than that. Answers are worth more than money. They'd solve all the world's problems. Most importantly, they'd solve all of my damn problems. Every last inner quarrel I have with myself about the way to approach a challenge. Or not approach it. Foreshadowing outcomes before I prioritize my workload. Putting a timestamp on my patience. The best time to take a leap of faith. The common void in these situations? Answers, answers, answers. As elusive as Mariah's vocal prowess right about now.  It's like, when people ask me what I am, what I do, where I want to be, how I plan to get there and my ultimate goals, I can never hit them with a straight answer in under five seconds. I stop and fidget, trying to encapsulate my dreams and hopes and swirl of ideas running through my mind a mile a minute into one concise sentence. It usually comes out as a stammer of inaudible words, then "a lot" or "

I Need New, More, Different Friends.

this one's short. i need to know more people. i know people think that having "too many friends" is a thing, but that's stupid. limited. safe. why wouldn't you want to have someone to dial-up other than the regulars you toss back Henny shots with or the members of your graduating class? someone that has an area code you'd have to google search because they're that unfamiliar? someone to be your artistic muse? someone to see you as their artistic muse? someone who makes fun of your accent and tries to imitate it after you reciprocate the joke? someone to respectfully question your ideals and beliefs and offer insight into how they were raised because it's so different from your upbringing. someone who's skills sets don't align with yours at all, but that doesn't make them any less interesting? someone who's god-given talent is damn near otherworldly and secretly you're hoping that a shard of it will catch on to you with continue

Lost in New York

New York has always been perfection to me. It always will be. From the suburban enclave I was raised in to the bright, blinking and bustling city I got familiar with after starting high school. The overwhelming smell of jerk chicken on a grill and reggae pouring out of backyards in the summertime. The lilt of patois on crowded dollar vans running up and down Merrick Blvd that I used to be so scared of because I didn't trust strange drivers. Chugging along on the E, J, F, A, C, L, G and whatever other trains to take me to hubs of faceless people who pique my interest. So many shapes, sizes, colors, flavors, personalities. The ice cold silence on public transportation that I find oddly comforting. Scornful eyes following the person that bumped you a little too hard on the crowded platform, but the anger disappearing when you snag that empty seat. The sucking of teeth when you hear "Showtime!" in between express stops. Strolling around SoHo as if you're actually going t

So… What Was #30DaysofSELF, You Ask?

Around this time a few days ago, I would be scrambling around my house with my tripod and camera in hand, searching for an unphotographed nook and a little inspiration to produce what manifested itself as #30DaysofSELF. Why the heck did I embark on such a journey, force-feeding my face to timelines for the entire month of April? To be honest, when I first started it, I literally had no idea. It was March 31 and the idea just came to me. Well, the name rather. It sounded like a dope hashtag, a great challenge like all the other writing ones of yesteryear I'd attempted and failed. But I didn't want to write for 30 days. I looked over to Gavin Desmond (yes, I named my camera) perched on my dresser, catching dust since I last used it to archive my trip to New Orleans at the top of March. Hmm, this can be a self-portrait challenge , I  thought to myself.   I've never done one before, so let's just give it a go and see what happens . And that was that.  Day 4

Stuck At The Light: A Short Story

"This doesn't really mean anything does it." I kept cutting at my steak. Without breaking my concentration, I pulled a medium-well cube of meat from the tip of the fork with my teeth. It was a question I knew wouldn't end well.  "You've asked that question before," I said, glancing up at him. He fidgeted uncomfortably across the dinner table, swirling whatever was left of his Riesling in his glass. He'd been doing that for the past ten minutes.  "The fact that I still feel the need to even ask it is what's bothering me..."  I felt bad. Chey was a nice guy. A great guy, actually. I met him at an internship luncheon two years ago and we clicked immediately, making sure to exchange business cards at the end. We kept in loose contact for about a year and a half, updating each other via texts and emails about our day jobs and occasionally grabbing coffee during our off days. He was a senior account executive at some hotshot adver

Wishing Death On A Part Of Me

I don't believe in suicide, and that makes things a little tricky. It's extreme. I don't want to kill me. But a small part of me, yes, I do. Her name is Shy, and I want her dead.  Shy -- and all the other traits she brings with her (second guessing, waiting, missing opportunities because I simply don't take them) -- is nagging and annoying. She's smothering like a pastor is to his teenage daughter, or like a significant other fishing for some Instagram-worthy PDA.  When I want to be let alone to just do my thing, here Shy comes, hovering over my shoulder like cartoon depictions of Satan. Whispering what-if's into my ear without giving the angel a chance to land on the other side of my mind and tell me go for it. You can do it. What have you got to lose? Go say hi to him. Go ask for a promotion. Start your own passion project. Ask and you shall receive. All that inner encouragement drowned out by the white noise of self-apprehension. Senseless fear and fuz

Forget The Kim K Part: The New 'Vogue' Cover Teaches Us About The Power Of Persistence

Nine times out of ten, the consumer reaction upon seeing Kanye West and Kim Kardashian cuddled in bridal wear on the cover of Vogue (aside from awww, eye rolls or sucking of teeth) was, "FINALLY!" For a steady couple years, one of the ongoing jokes of the internet was when the stoic Anna Wintour would honor Kanye's request to put the mother of his child on the cover of American Vogue . It was the stuff of comedy because nobody expected that day to come. No one expected the revered Artistic Director of one of the biggest media companies to honor the seemingly trivial request. To "cave." But she did, and for the month of April we will be staring KimYe in the face every time we run to our local CVS for a toiletry run. The tweets collected under the cumbersome #WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple hashtag have echoed everything from disappointment in Ms. Wintour to utter shock to shaming the publication for pandering to social media gimmicks. Can't decide what&#

Escape to NOLA: My First Mardi Gras

MY FIRST TIME ON AMTRAK was more or less painless. I'd done some train travel from NY to Connecticut before, but nothing like this. Nothing like 30 hours across cityscapes, woods and open pastures en route from the heart of Manhattan to New Orleans, Louisiana. To most, the very idea of being train-bound for more than a couple hours is the stuff of nightmares (my friends are still questioning my sanity for doing it), but to me, it was a well-deserved dose of uninterrupted serenity. Observance. A clear mind. Engagement of all the senses. I hear the tinkering of loose gears and panels of the overhead luggage compartments. The crinkling of an aluminum snack bag giving way to a hungry set of hands. The blaring of the vessel's horns piercing the quiet of midnight and dispensing itself across the outskirts of Virginia. The stale and loaded coughs of the woman in the next row with the overly active polyphonic ringtone. Her voice is husky and weary with age. "I'm trying to get

'Oxymoron' Proved That It's Okay To Stan For TDE

I hate Stans, I truly do. If you know me or of me, you know that I tend to retreat from all social media platforms whenever Beyonce so much as breathes publicly because the hive is in full swarm. Obsessing over people never really made any sense to me. The last person I can vividly remember feening for with posters, merch and memorized birthdays was Shad Gregory Moss, BKA Lil Bow Wow. I was 11 when "Take Ya Home" came out and 13 years later, I can still run it line for line, Harlem Shake and all. See how nuts that sounds? Anyway, you can imagine how off kilter I felt when my appreciation for rap's quietly dominating super crew crept into super-fan territory. Today, if you ask me who my favorite artist is, I'll probably say matter-of-factly, "TDE." Yes, I'm well aware that this isn't a singular person, but the solid group as a whole contributes to a superb listening experience balled into one creative entity. Top Dawg knew what he was doing. 

No, I'm Not "One of the Guys" And I'm Cool With That

I never understood why people underestimated "the girlfriends." No, I'm not referring to the ladies lovingly slinked over chiseled biceps, consistently posting flicks of her #MCM and with his name saved as a set of the heart eyed emojis in her phone. I'm talking about the girl-franssss, which nobody wants to proudly claim anymore for some reason.  Last month, I went to two sleepovers. For the first one, my friend had planned for it to be this big thing with facials, manis and pedis, movies and life planning. There ended up only being 6 of us: her, me, her best friend, her co-worker, and her two overly affectionate tabby cats, Vera and Irve (yes, like the designers). I only really knew her well, but I didn't leave feeling that way. We spent hours watching (and then suffering from soured moods from) Winnie Mandela , starting on Sarafina before pausing the movie midway to vent about ain't-shit men and opening up and closing off and how men really fe

Fear of Fatherless

I used to think nothing could top my fear of dying. On most nights after I've tucked myself in, I lie awake staring at the shapes on my ceiling, or sometimes I stare into darkness, not being able to differentiate open eyes from closed. Either way, I'm imagining nothingness. Emptiness. Loss of purpose. Loss of presence. Loss of memory. Loss of soul. Loss of thought. What comes after? What if there's nothing? But I can't recall a "before." Reasoning. Rationalizing. Questioning my religion. Terrified. For years, these nightly thoughts shook me to near-tears. Until recently. The fear of my end got bumped down to the second slot. What about my father's? What will I do when... I try not to think about it. But I know one day, he'll have to leave me, and knowing that hurts. Growing up, all of my closest friends had fathers. Dads. Whether I met them or not, heard fond memories of them or not, the male parents were all there . Between picking us up from sch

TV Tragedy Equals Tears. Real Life Equals Blank Stares.

I always found it interesting how much people care for the fictionally wounded on the big screen and shed tears when an actor dies, but when a life is in jeopardy in real life, in real time, nobody knows how to do anything but stand still. I never thought I'd witness that first hand, staring incredulously at onlookers watching a scene straight out of a daytime dramedy. All they needed was the popcorn.  A convulsing individual is laying right there on the ground on the Broadway Junction Station platform and everyone's standing around watching -- some shocked, some amazed -- wondering what happens next. Folks that just got off the Manhattan bound J train stare at the person on the ground (I couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman), then at each other, their faces all reading: "So... who's gonna move?"  But the reality is that if anyone moves, they'll miss out on the action. The drama . As if there's a scripted ending prepped and packaged for th

Love, Hurt, Release: A Short Story From Nowhere

I'm still  practicing: Love, Hurt, Release. Laura's usual spot was occupied today. The booth directly by the door allowing her to slip out just as quickly and quietly as she crept in was currently filled with a couple and their teething toddler, but the waitress had a better option available for her. "Right this way, Ms. Banks," Bethanny offered. "I think you'll like this spot just as much." Bethanny always waited her table. She was perky, flashing warm grins as she took orders from customers about a tenth as joyful as she was. With a polite smile, she followed her cheery waitress across the old diner -- without admiring the sweeping walls lined with portraits, records and autographed napkins of ritzy clientele per usual -- to a roomy, corner booth. The early afternoon sun bathed the toffee brown leather seats, warming the spot where she sat. She removed her scarf and coat and tossed them on the other side of the marble table.  "Ooh, I lov

Yes, I Plan to be Selfish With 2014.

Live. Be. Write. Go. Laugh. Live. See. Smile. Write. Then live again. That's the rolling agenda for this new year. This 2014 that I'm trying my damnedest not to plan from top to bottom. Because c'mon, we all know that when we swear by resolutions and make sweeping promises to change, things don't always go as planned. I'm not trying to chastise the "New Year, New Me" crew, trust me. I'm learning to just go with the flow with things and let life unfold organically. It's just better that way. Organic. For me at least. And I'm the most important part of this equation. I've learned that this year. Well, last year now. Just let life happen, and be present to record it as it does. Go with it. Make it work. My happiness was controlled by so many agents. So many hands were in the pot, trying to give order to a life that I haven't even experienced to the fullest yet. And I'll admit, some of that was my doing. I'm a compulsive planner