I am so inspired by author Roxane Gay and her collaboration with Medium, and their creation of an anthology of stories about unruly bodies. Twenty pieces written by twenty exceptionally talented writers touch on topics like aging, abuse, self-discovery, ancestry, and more. I reveled in their honesty, insight, and struggle. From it, I was compelled to discover my own view of my body because it is just that, unruly, and the chaos exists not just in my muscles, skin, and bones, but in my perspective too.
I used to avoid mirrors. I would put on a robe or a loose shirt as soon as I was out of the shower, because something about my aureoles, something about the dense foliage between my legs, seemed ugly and strange. I felt uncomfortable to see myself in my natural form because it meant a lot of things; I’d see my unexplored sexuality, the rough ripples of eczema and acne, the parts people praised me for that I am, to this day, afraid to lose. …
When I made my mother proud, I felt elated like no other. My matriarch, patriarch, and friend, was an imperfect emblem.
The scope of her love was, in a dichotomous way, measurable and immeasurable.
Measurable, in her words and actions. Long lists of prayers for God to hear, I witnessed her earnestly speak those words daily. When you conversed with her, you were in a space to be seen. She was ready to tilt into heavy territory if you needed it. Never afraid of emotion, she always welcomed the dark spaces, and without pretense, was ready to nurture you.
Where it came from, was immeasurable. There was no end to it. Even when it went unrecognized, a state that sometimes stung her, she never stopped her gracious way of existing. She’d come home from work to tell me amazing things that God did, marveling at such mercy, rarely acknowledging her role in it. It was genuine and I did not appreciate it enough. …
If you walk through the rooms of my home you will find there is much to take in. Prints, plants, keepsake boxes, old suitcases, piled up books, restored light fixtures, empty frames, and hanging tea cups. With such an array, I am in a happy place here. There are many ever-changing details, and finding enjoyment in the evolution, I have come to know I am a maximalist.
A design style that incorporates copious amounts of texture, color, and pattern to create a bold visual impact. more is more.
I acquired this affinity for the maximalist style from my grandparents. My Grandpa Frank and Grandma Laura kept, in my mind, the most interesting home in Capitol Hill. There was something about the way prints layered upon one another in rugs, pillows, and artwork, together forming a symmetry and synergy so engaging and interesting. It felt significant because each originated from a different part of the world. I remember spending time looking at the clay sculptures lined along their sash windows, many holding sprawling plants, and my hands would delicately touch the porcelain vases before playing one of their wooden flutes. Everything they owned seemed to have a story and when my introversion occasionally kicked in, I would slip by the family and re-acquaint myself with those stories, some told to me and more imagined, visions of how my own adventures might have brought this flute home. …
It can happen in the form of a pen + paper.
My understanding of meditation has been a very obtuse one. Here is how I thought meditation went: You are seated on the floor, your legs crossed, palms upward, eyes closed, “hummm”, zero distractions…
I can recognize its appeal, but it also sounds painful, especially considering the speed in which my thoughts come and go. My inclination to over analyze, to define such a practice as a “performance”, makes the idea seem just too much.
But meditation is not static, it does not come in just one form, and is not dependent upon perfection. This is a great relief because as I continue to work through some deep bouts of anxiety and stress, I have never felt so much in need of meditation as in this year. …
Don’t just witness it, live it.
I can’t help but repeat this like a mantra.
This whole creative and exploratory space is about stories. They are such a gift because they are a new lens through which we can view the world. So much of my story is formed from witnessing other’s perspectives, finding truths in their story that resonate with mine; I glean insight from them. The ever unique but never isolated words that make up a person’s life create bridges of resonance to those familiar and unfamiliar.
I often miss how interconnected we are, how the chance to connect is so viable and yet so often missed because it can be sincerely frightening. Our impulse to connect welcomes small talk, but when it intends to step further, to claim vulnerability, we choose instead to censor. …
There are stereotypes and discrimination that have plagued women for over a millennia.
There are varying levels of pain that often pass unseen, whether that be from misconceptions of “rightful place”, pressures to perform imbalanced responsibilities, or ruthless acts of violence. Women are certainly not the only demographic group to experience injustice, and like all of the others, the weight of inequality is something debilitating, sinister, abhorrent.
But, not permanent.
There have been milestones around the world of women reaching to greater heights, breaking the barriers that have formed within patriarchal societies, that trickle down to younger generations who boldly…