Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year In Review: On Dating, On Growing, On Learning, On Flying

As the year comes to a close, I'm overwhelmed with emotion about how much my writing has evolved within twelve months. This year, I wasn't able to keep up with my blogging as much as I would've liked to. However, I've definitely made some incredible strides. 

Let's take a look: 

(Click on the titles to read in posts, in full.)

I've been working a compilation of short stories about love during the Harlem Renaissance. You can read a few HERE. While reading texts to inspire prose, for this project, I came across an excerpt from Zora Neale Hurston's biography that GREATLY inspired me. I paired quotes from her work with memories of my own. 

“…I got in trouble with him for trying to loan him a quarter. It came about this way. I lived in the Graham Court at 116th Street and Seventh Avenue. He lived down in 64thStreet, Columbus Hill. He came to call one night and everything went off sweetly until he got ready to leave. At the door he told me to let him go because he was going to walk home. He had spent the only nickel he had that night to come see me. That upset me, and I ran to get a quarter to loan him until his pay day. What did I do that for? He flew hot. In fact he was the hottest man in five boroughs. Why did I insult him like that? The responsibility was all his. He had known that he did not have his return fare when he left home, but he had wanted to come, and so he had come. Let him take the consequences for his own acts. What kind of coward did I take him for?...He was a man! No woman on earth could either lend him or give him a cent. If a man could not do for a woman, what good was he on earth? His great desire was to do for me. Please let him be a man!

For a minute I was hurt and then I saw his point. He had done a beautiful thing and I was killing it off in my blindness. If it pleased him to walk all of that distance for my sake, it pleased him as evidence of his devotion. Then too, he wanted to do all the doing, and keep me on the receiving end. He soared in my respect from that moment on.” --Zora Neale Hurston

I remember making excuses:
This is an investment.
The economy is crazy right now.
It’s harder on a brother.
He’s right; he’s too qualified for that.
My father made no excuses for him.
“If I had to wash dishes, in a restaurant, on the weekend, to make sure my family was secure, I’d do it.”

When insecurity and love’s blindness walk hand in hand, they conquer our most incredible talent:
The ability to detect bullsh*t.

But not even bulls shat as much as he did. How long can you hold a brother down, before he suffocates from devotion?

If you’ve found the right fool, you can probably do it forever. He will always find a way to come up for air and take the oxygen for granted.


Fell in and out of love this year. Wanted to celebrate and understand it. 

"You want to bring them into your world.
Remember those silent spaces we discussed earlier? Use them to your advantage. Fill the cracks.
Tell them about stories you’ve only told to those closest to you. Open your heart a little. Spread your vulnerability, while asking them to let go a little too.

It was the first time I was truly sad about rejection. The letter came in the mail and I waited three hours to open it. I finally did and they told me that they didn’t want to take me on. I never wanted to write again.

If he skips over the story to tell you his own story of rejection, walk away. If he listens, offers a shoulder, and tells you that one day you’ll write across the sky…keep him."

I'm still fighting this battle, everyday.

"--Folks will take second glances, maybe three. This is fine, when it comes to new folks. However, I’m leery of people who’ve always been in my life and are just starting to pay me compliments or trying to embark on a sudden friendship. Despite my weight, I’ve always been a talented, incredible, and awesome person to get to know. Why now?

--None of my new confidence came from weight loss. In fact, after I lost weight, I became conscious about how different I looked. It took continuous “you are beautiful” chants, in my mirror, to bring about the pedestal I carry myself on now. It took several journal entries, recanting all that I had to offer. It took remembering that I had my father’s smile and my mother’s hips."

I was working on a novel that I decided I wanted to give away for free. It's still in progress, but it's been shown nothing but love. Thank you.

"I looked down at the app and realized that I didn’t press send on my order. Yeesh. I’d have to wait twenty more minutes, for my ride to show up. I pressed send and sat on the steps of the building. I was about to take out a book, when someone sat next to me.
            “You like the stockbroker type, huh?”
            I looked over my shoulder, it was Damali, “What are you talking about?”
            “Your little friend you were out here talking to.”
            “Oh. No, he’s just someone I work with.”
            I hissed my jamaican descendant teeth, “Listen. You should really be minding your own business.”
He stood up from his seat and the street light hit his face. It was chiseled to perfection, reminiscent of his poetry.
            “I’m just making conversation. You should be minding that attitude.”
            I fell silent, hoping it would get him to go away.
            He spoke again, “I wanted to say that I’m sorry about your dad. He was a good man.”
            He had my attention, “You knew my father?”
            “I loved your father, like he was my own.”
            My cab pulled up as I turned to Damali, to ask him more questions.
            He smiled, “It’s getting late. Catch that cab. You’ll see me around.”

It's been a busy year. I've had to learn not to beat up on myself about things that are out of my control or the hours in a day. 

"That last point is so important. You can’t be present and strong for everyone, if you don’t renew your strength. Finding time for you is the key to sustaining balance. You’ve got to replenish energy, in order to give it.
I am balancing, but I’m still dropping the ball.
& picking it back up.
& dropping it again.
& picking it back up.
Being a woman of superiority, not Superwoman, means understanding that there will always be tribulation, but having the power to overcome and sustain. Things will always get crazy, but they’ll always simmer down again. After the storm, there’s always sun."

& then there are the posts that make their way up, when I'm pissed. 

"You're right. 

I will never love anyone like I loved you. 
No one will ever love me the way you did. 
But there are several different ways to love.
& I'm learning a new style, so I can enact it with a man who's style of loving surpasses your own. 
You're right. 
You're my first lesson on what it looks like.
But you my dear...are the prototype. 
I'm looking for the perfected version of you--the iOS system bereft of multiple glitches and incredulous updates.
I thought about answering your text. I wanted to be spiteful and land a "who is this?" in your inbox. I thought of inquiring whether you knew how broken you'd left me. 
Instead, I didn't answer at all. I reveled in my newfound happiness and continued my day. I wanted to leave you in silence."

I rid myself of a few of these folks, at the start of 2014.

"You probably have a huge compliment sandwich in your texts or your memory:

You’re so amazing, but I have to get my ish together before I can take part in anything.
I really admire you.
You’re smart, witty, beautiful…
You’re a great cook, classy…
You’re definitely the kind of girl I can take home.
But right now…I’m not in a place where I can be what you need.
Don’t eat that!"

Self explanatory. 

"We think we don’t remember phone numbers anymore, until you want to rid yourself of his.

You change his name in your phone from the pet name coupled with emojis, to the one his mother gave him. You try to be courteous after it’s ended, until he pisses you off. It’s then that you’ll delete his texts and number to rid yourself of him forever.
 & then on a drunken night you’ll realize that you remember it.
You’ll call and smile in between slurs.
He’ll either reminisce with you or ask you why the hell you’re calling.
It’s rarely the latter when the split is fresh.
Don’t be surprised when you find yourself in his presence.
Don’t feel too awful, when you realize that was a mistake."

Because it's difficult and there should be an instruction manual. 

"Kiss us when we aren’t expecting it.
Take long walks with us and tell us your childhood stories.
We frickin’ love stories.
Tell us that you see God in us.
Call us olden things: Queen, Goddess, My Lady, Maven.
Hold us from behind and tell us that we’re your fairytale.
Describe the sky, even though we can see it.
Cross bridges with us.
Tinker with things that seem meaningless, but could provide symbolism somewhere.
Forgive us when we guess the end of Law and Order SVU.
Or anything else that was written form, first.
Hold our hands and trace the lifelines, on our palms.
We will remember this.
We remember everything.
Elephant love."

This year, picked up the dating series and it received hundreds of thousands of hits. I received a ton of emails about heartbreak and hurt and I tried to respond to every single one. I shared my personal stories and was given so much love and understanding in return. The dating series will start again in January 2015, on MN. It's the best gift I could think of giving back to dating life in 2014. (Whew.) I hope you enjoy. 

"& I still love him, even though he doesn’t deserve one ounce of it.

I’m not morphing into a mad black woman.
I do not want to throw things and scream.
I am not seeking revenge.
I am not e-stalking him.
& this how I know I’m growing.
I have an impulse to live.
I want to paint.
I want to dance.
I want to see the world.
I want to write like crazy.
I am all I have, in the end. We are all we have. With each heartbreak; we grow stronger. Micah was right. We are all frail things propped up on something, but I am strengthened by me.
I am propped up on knowledge: We learn that love is not promised. We learn that hope is a relative thing. We learn that loving us first is more urgent than anything.

Urgent like a mother. "

2015 is going to be one hell of a year. I'm ready. 

1 comment:

Elle Sunnie Mac said...

Started reading your work in 2014. Clearly I chose a perfect place to start! Looking forward to reading in 2015.