1. 52

1.

i’ve gone and done something foolish.

on par with my typical running and leaping, jumping head first into a challenge, then looking down, noticing the height, the potential hard landing, and realizing it’s too late to rewind. flailing or otherwise losing interest, i usually abandon these things.

this time i won’t.

52 essays for 2017. 52 opportunities to reach in this rubbled mind and unearth the beautiful, the ugly, the absurd. to bend friendships to their limit. to make seeming foes of family. to place my depths at the stake for the sake of art.

i joined it for that reason, mostly. i’ve been afraid to write my history. the pages of my memory are pebbled, marred and dinged with people who love me, whom i love, whose rank anger i can already smell, fumes licking up from the very pit of my stomach, at the words that may result. this sticky black feeling is uneasiness, this is fear.

fear of writing the truth, because maybe that truth is just too real to exist out loud. to exist on page where it can be consumed, chewed, spit out as hatred, regurgitated as vile accusations of treason. usually, when this feeling enters, this murky, muddy sinking in the very bottom of my stomach, i put my pen down, i freeze my fingers, navigate to a more palatable tab. i run.

this time i won’t.

 

Boomerang

Boomerang.

i only considered it a myth on the mouths of lonely women

longing for a time when hints of jasmine rose like smoke between their thighs,

and men had reason to worry of their departure.

“they always come back” they said, eyes twinkling with redemption songs.

Boomerang

i laughed, nodded in agreement with a lying nod.

and now.

thrown, cast, leapt, jumped, dumped, disappeared– out into the wild

no matter the exit strategy, they’ve started to come back from their landings,

from world travels, from swollen wombs of wives, longing arms of girlfriends,

from business ventures gone wrong, and gone wealth.

debunking my theory of myths

–my inboxes a disjointed script of Ghosts of Hims Past.

“i’ll fly you,” they say. “do you miss me?” they ask. “just lunch?” they bargain.

ulterior motives dripping like drool from hungry wolf fangs.

my head shakes, heart long turned away.

forgotten boomerangs

a strange phenomenon.

no thank you, sirs.

no thank you.

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

the evening breeze in New York City has started to carry more of a nip, a subtle but distinct reminder that fall will shortly cover the streets with its colors and take over wardrobes; replacing rompers and gladiator sandals with skinny jeans and tall leather boots, tank tops and free-flying afros with smartly layered sweaters and protective styles.

this summer was surely supposed to be THEE summer. after all the positives and “just wait ’til summer”s thrown around, i was to be in for the treat that was three hot months spent in The City.

and, it mostly was.

NYC sun seems to be more intense, more concentrated than Michigan’s, to my great pleasure. my tan reached deep in the hues and settled at a nice hershey’s bar color. i became more of a New Yorker than i ever thought possible, not batting an eye at topless women strolling across parks, ignoring the arguing couple next door that is the epitome of Hood Love, dropping a dollar into the upturned hats of those that entertained my daily subway ride without even having to look up from the novel that became so innate to carry.

i laid out on blankets along Riverside park and carved dreams into plans while tracing fingers lazily along a surprisingly soft bald head. i discovered talent on talent on talent when cruising through an independent film festival, and bought countless pairs of earrings and necklaces from bargaining street vendors lining 125th. i learned to navigate my way through the city by train, on feet, and on rollerblades, adding a little shape to the bump below my waist in the process.

i experienced more flurries of kisses to nose, to forehead, to lips, than i have ever in life. i attended barbecues and cookouts sponsored by greeks and ivy leaguers and married folks, and friends of friends, and met so many dope people in the process.

i celebrated in the Domican Republic the completion of one year with the person that’s made my time in New York infinitely more memorable. i made so many new friendships and strengthened existing ones (*blows kisses to Latoya, Diana, Mika, Marilyn*). i danced, i laughed, i downed my first shot to a round of cheers.

mostly, it was a good summer. one though, that hasn’t been filled with as many accomplishments as i had planned. i scrapped an entire 200 pages of a book i’ve been working on since moving to NYC was only a desire in the back of my thoughts. i wrote so many short stories that will never see the light of publish. i started three projects with a burst of enthusiasm, and halted them with quick deflation.

twas not all in vain though. i did find a new fairy careermother that i am confident will have my name on some binder enclosing the 300 pages of my blood, sweat, and many tears. i wrote five solid short stories that managed to make it through my impossible self-scrutiny to submit to literary magazines. i embarked on a project with three of the sexiest pens in blogland that i am sure will be one of my best decisions this year.

this month also marks my one year anniversary of actually residing in this big dirty apple. i’ve discovered a lot about myself during this time. i’ve discovered i’m not nearly as money-driven as my educated and upwardly mobile peers seem to be. i’ve realized that being naturally good at things has rendered me unaccustomed to working hard, or working at all really, for anything, and had become a severe handicap that has just recently started to be less plaguing as i finally find myself able to climb over its debilitating hold. i discovered that i am comfortable being out at concerts, at parties, at cookouts … but i am more comfortable being in; behind a book, behind a desk, behind a computer screen, in front of words, in front of friends, in museums, in lounges with a familiar faces. in the city with eight million new faces, i discovered my introvert.

i discovered that writing is not nearly as easy when you have to do it, though necessary and worth it if you want to do it.

i’ve learned that i am able to adapt, to grow, to make a home wherever i may go. i’ve discovered the truth in the phrase “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

On Finding The Grey

for as long as i can remember, i’ve been a natural rebel.

if there was a rule, cultural or gender standard, i would usually unintentionally contradict it in some way. in elementary, i wanted to run on the boys track team because the girls were too slow for me, so i did. in high school, i was the person frantically writing essays an hour before they were due, only to see a proudly red-markered “A- Excellent Job!” beaming from the top of the page a few days later. the one who decided i was done with high school about five minutes after receiving the big blue envelope that marked my early admission to Spelman (the only school i applied for– a decision which counselors constantly scolded and warned me about for not having a Plan B) in December of my senior year. i went from ranking 3rd in my class to 10th because after that point, much of my supposed-to-be-in-class hours were spent out on the common lawn reading books i’d neglected to properly check out of the library.

for many years i lived by the “just jump” mentality, armed with a unending supply of optimism and the knowledge that the universe usually conspired for things to somehow work out in my favor (see: The Alchemist). later, people chose terms like ‘free spirit” to define what i hadn’t known was an unorthodox way of approaching life.

not least of all, relationships. (more…)

The Curse of the Creative

talent is cheaper than table salt. what separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. -Stephen King

growing up, my home was an inspired one. positive, creative energy burst through windowsills and slid under door cracks. creativity was abundant in the air we breathed, the energy that kept me and my siblings full of sparkling ideas and grand thoughts. my mother fostered our brilliance through her endless stream of encouraging words and firm position as our number one fan. no matter what idea i had, it was a great one. no matter what skill i wanted to learn, she imagined the possibilities right along with me. she made it very clear that there was absolutely nothing i couldn’t do, achieve and be if i put my mind to it. and we learned not only through her words, but her actions as well. it seemed like no matter what she did, it turned out on the winning side of the coin. whatever creative pursuit she was on at that moment, she went after it with bold, fearless passion. i admired that. and what an impressive list of pursuits she has had:

-when i was five, she sang lead and played the keyboard in an all girl band called Lady Deluxe. i remember being in the basement during their rehearsals and dancing around to their cover of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody.”  probably the reason it’s still one of my favorite songs to this day. i remember shows downtown at Hart Plaza. i remember music infusing every part of my life. (more…)

my messy arse desk– an observation

her hands rose to her face wearily. bags carrying too many nights of missed rest settled beneath her brown eyes. she yawned, stuck one finger deep into her fro and scratched. sitting here was unproductive. it suddenly occurred to her that nothing about this desk or this small laptop said success; it was messy and unorganized, and deodorant sat next to a meant-to-be-discarded bluetooth, which was next to a butter knife slanted towards an opened silver nail file. she imagined the nail file the woman, the much larger butter knife a man, leaning in for the kiss. a blackberry atop a Dean Koontz novel watched in silently on their intimate moment. a rather snazzy black oval desk lamp hovered over the gathering of completely unrelated items that made up her desk mozaic, although shedding light on any of their stiuations would be nearly impossible with no lightbulb screwed into it. (more…)

Dirty Thirty

bringing in 30 the right way

Thirty.

Ah yes, the big three-oh. The age when women start keeping track of ovulation cycles and mourning each egg lost during monthly visits. The time when a woman examines her face in the mirror and takes note of each wayward line and makes a promise to her (now obviously fragile) reflection to not laugh so hard anymore, and not be so quick to frown, as to prevent the new concern of the dreaded wrinkle taking the place of your once pleasantly filled in laugh lines. Or perhaps she looks at her barren ring finger, its only decoration the shimmery red polish gleaming from her fresh manicure.

And career. Thirty is the year where everyone looks back on what they planned to do, and measure it up with what they have actually done. When I was eighteen, by thirty, my life was supposed to be the picture of a happily married with two children, successful psychologist with a best-selling book on How To Be Awesome under her belt, and a company car.

With thirty showing up today, I can confidently say that I don’t suspect a company car, and certainly not a husband and two kids, will be my birthday present.

And you know what, I’m perfectly fine with that. (more…)