August 24, 2016
Do you believe black lives matter?
Do you believe white lives matter?
Do you believe all lives matter?
Well, I’m here to tell you that your answers, be they affirmative or not, don’t matter. Why? Because those questions don’t matter. And since this is the case, no answer you give matters either. But why am I saying this?
I am a young black woman. Growing up in America, I have lived through thousands of mass shootings and hate crimes. Many I’ve never even heard about. Recently, however, I’ve become hyper-aware of them. It seems like every single day when I open my laptop and check my email, there’s another one in the news. Black man, armed or unarmed, shot and killed. A young black boy, shot and killed. While some focus on guns, others focus on race. Read more …
November 19, 2015
NaNoWriMo sucks. Before anyone thinks I’m saying this because I’m behind, don’t. Am I behind? Totally. Am I *really* behind? Again: totally. But that is not even the point. Or maybe it is. Maybe it really, really, IS the point.
It’s relatively safe, I feel, to say that the majority of people who participate in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo each year are writers. Some are people who have always wanted to write a book, but never had the motivation, or “the time.” Whatever. Some are people blinded by the illusion that they will somehow write a perfect and publishable manuscript by the end of a thirty/thirty-one day period.
Again, though, most of us are actual writers who write fairly often. Many of us are decent writers. Yes, I consider myself to be a “decent” writer. I’m not a beginner, and I’m not a professional, but I think I’m certainly somewhere in the middle. Read more …
September 17, 2015
I started writing in sixth grade, after I met a classmate who wrote her own stories. Up to that point, my classmates made me nervous, so I would rather fold into myself and hide in my books than converse with my peers. People often mistook me for being plain, boring, without much opinion to speak of as a result. But upon meeting my writer classmate—Emma—I wondered what it would be like to express the daydreams I experienced. The dreams I ended up in trouble for on an hourly basis in class, at home. People wanted to know what was in my head, so I would show them.
My first story was about a girl my age, which at that time was around eleven, who discovered she was adopted and was truly an orphan who had extraordinary powers. But she was not alone, as there were many others like her. Fast forward to my next story, a girl my age—Around twelve that time—who, yes, discovered she had extraordinary powers, but they would not be activated until she accepted them. Fast forward again, and you can probably guess what the story was about. Each draft had different characters, but the stories were remarkably similar. Read more …
August 5th, 2015
Either no movie or book in the last few years has been good, or I’m a picky critic. I strongly suspect it’s the second.
I have worked at a movie theater for the last nine-to-ten months. I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. My job allows me unlimited, free movies. The local library allows me unlimited, free books. I’ve read hundred of books. I’ve seen more movies in the last ten months than in my entire lifetime… of nineteen years. Don’t judge me, that’s a long time in my eyes.
Anyway, the point is this: I have yet to walk out of a movie or finish reading a book and gone “wow, that was incredible and I had an amazing time.” And until last week, I thought it was the fault of the directors, the actors, the script, the narrative, the characters, the pacing. Read more…
July 8, 2015
A few days ago I went to the doctor and discovered I’m at a weight I’ve never before reached. Not in a good way. I’ve gained weight. This number shocked me. First, I had promised I’d never pass a certain number. Well, I broke that. Second, I’ve never been more confident.
I remember way back in public school getting teased about my weight, and I wished I was a normal weight. I listened to my doctor, taking it as gospel when she said as I hit puberty and growth spurts, my weight would even out. It didn’t. Read more …
June 17, 2015
I recently “big chopped” (cut all my hair off), and the experience has opened my eyes to both society’s expectations and the effect they’ve had on my own.
At thirteen years old my mom came to me with a suggestion. As I was extremely tender-headed, yet I wanted long hair, she suggested I get dreadlocks. Upon hearing I wouldn’t have to comb my hair and that it was guaranteed to grow like nobody’s business, I agreed. Fast forward seven and a half years and my hair hung past my waist, a glorious wave that I valued over all my other attributes. But my pride and patience were waning.
Along with the wonderful length and the interest it captivated, my hair was hot, heavy, and expensive to maintain. It had begun to hurt my back and neck, as dreadlocks often do after a certain amount of time. Read more …
May 6, 2015
We “met” one summer a couple years ago, and hit it off instantly. You were a person I was happy to know, happy to be associated with. Our interests were similar, our senses of humor were similar, we felt as though we’d found our twins. Best friends, we said. Best friends forever, even. Well I’m sorry, but I didn’t know one year and six months equaled forever. Now that I think of it, I didn’t know two people could become best friends forever after a couple days. That was partly my fault, though. But now you’re gone. You and many, many others.
What’s funny is that it hurt when we split. Funny because the more I think back on it, the more absurd it sounds. I “knew” you for a split second of my life, but somehow thought I had you figured out. We were “friends.” But we were total strangers. Read more …
April 22, 2015
Tonight I emerged from the shower and looked in the mirror for the first time in a while. Fog rendered my face blurred, but I my body was in full view. I averted my eyes out of habit. Then I forced them to look again.
“I love myself,” I murmured, barely a whisper. My eyes slid down my nude frame, covered in beads of water, and my stomach churned.
Ugly, my mind whispered.
“I love myself,” I repeated, banishing the thoughts. Read more …
It’s okay. You need to hear that right now, don’t you? You are better than you were six months ago. You still have worries every moment, but that’s fine. Everyone goes through this stage, where they fear the future, fear the unknown; the stage where they know exactly what they want to do with their life and yet remain frightened to own up to it. You know what makes you happy, you know what you believe in, but don’t have the confidence to broadcast it, even to yourself. It’s okay.
Think about where you started. Six months ago you didn’t even think you would graduate, let alone get a job and make your own money. Read more …