I haven’t written here as much as I want or as much as I need. You see, writing is how I cope with life and my epically terrible sense of humor is how I make lemonade out of a batch of worm-infested lemons. Er, wait? No, that would be disgusting. Who the fuck wants wormy lemonade? Nobody, that’s who. Or, OR, is it basically tequila, and everyone loves tequila! I’ll let you decide. My point being, I wish I were writing more, I need to write more, but I’ve been in such a complicated headspace lately, trying to navigate this time
It seems almost silly to write about my daily life and make art and compile books when the world is upside down. When black folks are still fighting for equal rights, and a new virus is terrorizing our health on a global level and people are hungry and wars are waging and everything is polarizing. With so much going on it feels strange to crack jokes about my husband or detail toddler tantrums or tell y’all about this super hot homeless guy I keep seeing around town who smells like a nightmare but looks like a dream (he also knows he’s hot and has this annoying smug grin). I’ve had a lot of moments lately where I’ve picked up a pen to jot something down and then thought, geez, who cares? What’s the point? And then I donate money somewhere (I’m currently obsessed with giving money to Title 1 Schools–i.e. schools where the majority of students come from families who are struggling financially. Many of these children are also black, immigrants, and/or POC– and then I open Netflix and numb out (Watched HANCOCK today) or listen to audiobooks (Currently: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah).
But it’s through this cycle of numbing out that I realized why movies and books are so soothing right now: Because art and stories are how humans cope with difficult times and connect to one another. And so maybe, blogging, and making art, and creating books are more important than ever. It’s important personally because these things keep me sane and I’m a huge mental health advocate. I believe that it’s our duty to heal ourselves if we are privileged enough to do it. My mental health does not just impact me, but the entire world around me and every single person I come into contact with. It impacts my family, my friends, strangers, and my son, who will in turn impact the next generation. Creativity is how I cope, how humans cope. But telling stories is bigger than little ole me and my mental health, storytelling builds bridges and community.
We experience and understand each other through stories. The tales we tale unite us, educate us, heal us, change us, and through our personal narratives we evolve.
Author Jacqueline Woodson wrote a beautiful children’s book called, The Day You Begin. In it, she writes:
“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin to share your stories.”
When I began blogging in 2011 I was searching for connection during a time where I felt totally and completely alone. I met people, I felt a part of something bigger than myself, and I’ve been told that I helped a lot of people along the way, too, who felt alone or confused or misunderstood. I hope that my stories of depression and anxiety, being in a mixed ethnic, immigrant family, my “unique” childhood with a single mom living in a housing project, growing up as an outsider who always felt weird, and trying to raise a child while breaking generational trauma cycles will allow someone, somewhere, to feel less alone. Creativity might not change the world but it might open up someone’s world for a moment and that can be life-changing and thus world-changing.
I have a friend who calls herself a “love activist.” And her philosophy is that the resistance starts with the individual. A global cultural evolution starts with self-love and self-care and, you guessed it, sharing stories. In fact, she’s launching a show on Facebook Live titled, Conversations with a Love Activist, and she’s going to be a guest on YOU’RE GONNA BE GREAT! In the upcoming weeks and y’all will totally recognize her from my book, Naked, because she’s got that pretty accent and stories galore about growing up during apartheid in SA.
We all know that there are so many struggles outside and ahead, personally and collectively. 2020 is full of unrelenting bullshit but also hope. We don’t have to be alone or feel alone while we forge ahead. We have art to say what the mouth cannot, we have music to motivate, and we have stories to bind us, unite us, connect us, free us, and transform us.
So here’s to a better, more united, world.