Who presents this bride?

Personal Narrative
Today makes eight. For years I went to bed early. As an elementary school teacher, I had an extensive morning routine involving exercise, prayer, and a 30-minute commute. I arrived at work by 7 a.m. – well before the kiddos who often wanted to share household news as soon as they said good morning.
Because I require 7-8 hours of sleep to function well, I observed a strict bedtime of 9 p.m. My friends knew this and generally avoided calling past 8 or 8:30. From time to time an acquaintance would call too late, so I turned off my ringer at night just to play it safe. That is, until Daddy admitted his health was fading. It was shortly after Mama died. His prostate cancer wasn't a secret, yet he seemed to be…
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200 pages down.

30 Day Blog Challenge
I'm 2/3s of the way done with Pearl's book. I've been on a first name basis with her since I began this journey. Reading it makes me wonder how much wisdom gets lost because women don't share their most intimate thoughts? Either aloud or in writing? Many of us live our lives, and simply figure out the hard shit as we go along. Some read the self-help gurus say, and I'm sure there's plenty of insight to be gained by doing so. Others bond and grow through occasional talks with a close friend. But how many of us engage in a systematic effort to document (your real) life and the lessons it teaches you? Either for your own reflection and edification or for the express purpose of passing it on?…
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The deeper business of being beautiful inside.

Love, Politics, News & Notable
Blue and I saw 12 Years a Slave as soon as it was released in Atlanta. The film was stunning. We dined afterward and talked for hours about the the movie and the myriad topics it inspired: slavery, racism, privilege, wealth, the power of story, literacy, critical literacy and public schooling. We discussed the stories that get told or lost. We noted, with a healthy dose of cynicism, who "history" deems worthy of remembrance. We retold scenes to each other. Relived predictions, twists. What made us look away, hold our breath, or more tightly to the other's hand. The writing, directing and performances were brilliant. And yet as moved as I was during and after, it was Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey who brought me to tears: Patsey broke my heart…
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Dereliction and Fire

Text Talk
I debated the merits of crafting a preamble to this excerpt, and as I begin typing, I honestly haven't decided what to say about it. So we'll see... I read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Early on in my reading, I became angry. I graduated from a high school named after this man. We did not read his words. At various points, teachers or administrators recited quotes of his, or summarized the "highlights" of his life. Our mascot, school paper and yearbook were all symbolic of him. But we did not read his words. We did not spend time in an English class, nor a history class, nor an extracurricular making sense of his life. Glaring omission seems too quiet, too meek, too gray to…
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Settling. Not yet still.

Personal Narrative
I've missed this space. I'm finally settling into my house. I haven't spent much time there yet, and we can now add renovating to the purging, reorganizing, unpacking mix. Seems it's time for a new roof. Lots going on, suffice to say. Cousin Big Sister and my SO, Blue, have been amazingly supportive. I love and appreciate them. I'm excited about  my Creating Room. I'm not sure that name'll stick, but it's basically a thinking/collaborative space. Or it will be. It was most recently known as the Everything Room - a dumping ground for miscellaneous or mislabeled boxes, and soon-to-be-purged items/furniture. It's clear now, except for the closet, and after a fresh paint job and some intentional (inexpensive) furniture selections, I think it'll be my new favorite place. I'm getting…
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What do you want? #rapeculture #vaw

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
People who have witnessed the recent steps on my journey have sent me good wishes and hopes for the outcome I want. Truth be told, the healing, the outcome I wanted for myself, happened long ago. But I've started to talk publicly about it. And I recently told my ex my thoughts about our past. This has inspired the following question from many corners: What do you want? I want to agitate. I want to make people feel uncomfortable. I want to counter rape culture. I want people to stop blaming victims. I want to add my voice to the chorus of survivors. I want partners to question their entitlement over another's body. I want people to talk. Especially men to their friends and brothers. To their sons and lovers. Rape…
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On family narratives. #NaBloPoMo

30 Day Blog Challenge
The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative. This line comes from a recent New York Times piece about the importance of understanding from whence you came.  The more you know about the characters, settings, and other elements that contribute to your life story, the better prepared you are to make intentional choices about your own life. You can be a more sophisticated author of your life if you have a strong sense of your biography: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your…
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No means no* #NaBloPoMo #vaw #fem2

30 Day Blog Challenge, Sexual Violence
At times boundaries are rendered ambiguous, when in actuality, they're sharply drawn. In rape culture, this means no is sometimes given an asterisk: No means no* when your partner says it three times. Or no means no* when your partner hits you in protest. No means no* when (fill in the blank). No means no. It means no when it's a stranger. It means no when it's an acquaintance. It means no when it's a family member. If it's your spouse, significant other or otherwise longterm partner, it still means no. Rape culture perpetuates the myth that perpetrators of sexual assault are always scary men with ski-masks and guns, hiding in the bushes for the easiest target. Or maybe they're burglars who break in to steal your electronics and get…
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Stories of Sexual Violence #NaBloPoMo #vaw #fem2

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
I am a survivor of sexual violence. I've never stated it publicly, but I've hinted about it here and there. I'm tired of hinting. It's risky, claiming survivor status out loud. It's old wounds ripped open and sprinkled with salt. Once-dried tears, bubbling up, spilling over. Heart racing. Doubts. Anger. It's triggering. Digging into that history, thinking about it, remembering it, and sharing it is triggering. One could reasonably wonder why do it? I'll tell you why: to counter rape culture. Telling my story gives other survivors permission to tell theirs. It opens a channel for dialogue, healing and transformation. It creates a space for would-be perpetrators to see the effect of sexual violence and potentially make more loving choices. It adds to the public discourse about sexual violence, masculinity…
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Saying Hello

Personal Narrative
I've been writing here and there, on sticky notes, mobile devices, and the like. I have many posts in draft form, and lots of prompts for others, but I'm finding it difficult to polish a piece (or a thought) for public consumption. I know why this is. My professional life currently takes up a lot of resources. For better or for worse, this will decrease in the coming weeks, and I hope plan to be more visible here. Despite my lowered profile around these parts, I've committed myself to begin working on my book/workshop project in earnest this month. It's a birthday gift to myself, inspired by Joshunda's act of self-publishing her book for her birthday this year. I hope my work helps women and girls find, claim and refine…
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