Good News | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative
I am so proud of my friend, Oliver. He's the mayor-elect of Miami Gardens, Florida. It wasn't a matter of luck; it's been a dream of his for years. His dad, his name sake, passed away two years ago. "He really would've gotten a kick out of this," he said. ~ I miss my parents. Sometimes the longing appears as a whisper, barely heard above the din of every day. Other times, it's a bit more demanding. Louder. I hear daddy's voice. Picture his shoulders shrugging as his body convulses with giggles. There was always a hint of sarcasm. Teasing. Mama comes bearing warnings and stories in equal measure. Reminds me to tie up loose ends. Flashes me scenes of days past. I miss them, especially her, most, when there…
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It Counts (Trigger Warning) | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy

30 Day Blog Challenge, Politics, News & Notable, Sexual Violence
So this happened: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdisTOKom5I?rel=0] And aside from the fact the man sounds ignorant – he wants to enact laws about pregnancy when he doesn’t know how it works – he qualifies rape. If there is legitimate rape, it must follow there’s such a thing as illegitimate rape. And one wonders what that might be, exactly? Akin has issued an apology video, trying to make amends for his word choice, yet one wonders if he still believes that some rapes are real, while others, are somehow fake? If only he could express the concept more artfully? Jezebel documents and simultaneously mocks this dangerous discourse here. Tanehisi unpacks the power and privilege underlying the claims here. Rape is rape. Full stop. It becomes a stranger invading. It becomes a thief stealing.…
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Forever Changed | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
What is one thing that left you forever changed? I stumbled across this question while sitting, browsing and mulling – the trio known collectively as my process. Even when I have an idea in mind (I did) I often have to go through this period of germination. I embraced it in grad school, but I kinda want things to move a little faster. But this is me stalling. As soon as I read that question, an answer came to mind. I was inspired to respond, completely disregarding my initial plans to write about student ingenuity and punishment. Though as I began to type, I wondered how much I should or would share. I’m still deciding. I’ll ease into it and see what comes out. I experienced the first love of…
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Tell Your Story. | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Writer's Craft
And this is why we have to tell our own stories. When it's up to someone else, we might not even be NAMED. Forget a whole narrative. — nicole means victory (@ndcollier) August 1, 2012 I tweeted this out of frustration surrounding the coverage (and lack thereof) of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. It isn’t the first moment to inspire this response, yet I’ve only recently begun to affirm this for myself. For years, I had connected storytelling to a sort of pathology. The stories that truly needed telling were riddled with pain and misery. The only important stories showed tremendous triumph over tragedy, rags to riches, or some variation that X was hard and I overcame it. I never experienced my life in those terms; therefore, I didn’t have…
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An Alpha, #3.

Personal Narrative
An Alpha, #3. That’s how he always signed his missives. Something I’d managed to forget until I stumbled across one. I was in the midst of searching for something completely unrelated in my box of “treasured stuff,” when there it was. His elaborate signature. I wept at the shock of feeling I honestly didn’t know was still present over a decade later. I wept for had been. For what could have been. Most of all, I wept for him. An age ago, he was my boyfriend. Me, 21; a junior in college. He, a couple of years my senior; a graduate student in psychology. He was warm and loving and thoughtful. He’d fix me lunches: homemade sandwiches, heated and sliced down the middle. He was also organized. Everything had to…
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Writing Publicly

Personal Narrative, Writer's Craft
One of my goals/determinations for 2012 is to write and publish meaningful, well-received pieces. My first one (yay!) is linked below. I had the pleasure of working with a brilliant editor, Kelly Virella, and I'm deeply appreciative of her guidance and wisdom. I hope to write many more personal essays, advocacy pieces, and other works throughout 2012. Here's to the first one! Mama’s voicemail sounded an alarm. “I’m not feeling well. Call me back.” I returned her call right away. No answer. Heart pounding, eyebrows raised, I left a message in return, chiding her for scaring me by leaving mysterious messages and then refusing to answer the phone. In my nearly 30 years of life, I’d never heard her say anything so ominous. Minutes later, I headed to our rendezvous point…
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Wounding. A 20-year lesson.

Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
A thief made off with a prized possession Me Snatched from sacred promises of love everlasting Held hostage Imprisoned A cage of my own hand Tortured by hurt invisible, choking out life, love Twenty years I spent Captive to that pain Yet blind Ignorant of my own walls Fences Wondering why you couldn’t reach me Wouldn’t reach out to me Feel me Know me None had eyes for well-hidden pain Buried And I with it Trapped Cowering behind a guarded heart Safe From you Wishes escaped on wings of prayers Floating beyond boundaries of consciousness Sneaking through cracks Disguised as discarded hopes Rising above barriers Taking flight A call A song in my key Imprisoned heart unlocked Responding Wishes as balm As pathway to freedom Story as star Illuminating the…
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Moms and May

Personal Narrative
A friend's tweet about his mother's passing triggered memories of my own. It feels selfish to talk about it, but I'm owning my need to write, so I am writing. I'm also challenging my fear of sharing, so I am sharing. Mother's Day does not bother me too much. My mom's birthday does not either. Even Memorial Day weekend, the anniversary of her passing, doesn't make me feel any kind of way. Rather it's random things that make me think about her, feel her, miss her. Sometimes it's a song, a picture, a saying... today it was a tweet. Ours was an interesting relationship to say the least. By the time she died we had learned to express our love for each other in productive and traditional ways. We made…
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They Will Find You

Personal Narrative
be still and let them find you/they will come when they are ready ~ruth foreman So says Ruth in a poem featured in Flat-Footed Truths: Writing Black Women's Lives. She is talking about your words, your stories. They come to you and through you at the anointed, appointed time. I am finding this to be true in my own life. It has been quite an evolution really - moving from wanting to write my life to becoming ready to actually do it. The more I read from women who are unabashedly unafraid to narrate their lives, the more I feel the urge to do the same. This has gone through various manifestations over the past two decades: I want to be a writer! I should write, but I have nothing…
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The Danger of the Single Story

Personal Narrative
I really appreciate Chimamanda Adichie's TED Talk: The Danger of the Single Story. She reminds us that we are all "vulnerable in the face of a story." The lesson is that we should realize there is always more to the story or that there are other stories not represented in what we assume to be true. We assume we understand a relationship because we've heard all the stories from our friend's point of view. But that collection of stories is still a single story. It is the single view of a given situation (further, only as it is narrated by one person). And that story isn't a permanent one as the situation or the persons in it change over time. The same is true with our own lives. The overarching…
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