Dimensions of Black Womanhood: The Dreamer and The Thinker

November 24, 2015

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” – Susan L. Taylor

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” -Lorraine Hansberry

Sheryl: The Dreamer

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

I have been in love no less than 15 times. They were all passionate relationships with red-hot touches that both thrilled and terrified, summertime walks around DC’s monuments as the sky draped itself in purple at sunset, and winter dinners by fire, the crackle of orange flames filling in the pauses of our conversations. My feet have roamed narrow cobblestone streets and dusty village roads in more than half of the countries in this world. I have laid a blue, cotton blanket across lush green quadrangles on the campuses of 10 universities, legs crossed and laptop open as I pounded out short stories for my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

But that was all in my head, a kaleidoscope of dreams to match my heart’s desires.

Read more from Sheryl here.

T.S.: The Thinker

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

What could possibly be wrong with me?

Why don’t they want me?

Is it my personality? Is it my hair? Is it just me?

My thoughts have consumed me as of late in my recent job search. As we ALL know, being in the job market is daunting. The numerous phone and in-person interviews, the rounds of emails, and reference checks can be exhilarating but also intimidating. My job search has netted me three rejections in the final round sending my mind into a whirlwind.

Read more from T.S. here.

They Keep Asking Me About You.

November 19, 2015

they keep asking me about you

Everyone keeps asking me about you. You. Abstract you. You who I’ve conjured up in one million dreams and thought about while stuck in stand still traffic. You with a wild heart and an untamed spirit. Passionate, patient and completely nonexistent you.

I’m running out of answers.

I’m running out of polite and politically correct ways to tell people that I just haven’t found you yet. I’m running out of excuses and I’m running out of feel good things to say. I’m running out of other things to talk about when I’m drinking down mimosas at brunch and my girlfriends ask me “So, are you dating?” I’m running out of dirt to fill the ditches in my mind anytime I get a moment to myself and wonder where the hell you could be. I’m running out of detours away from the mess of a construction site that is my heart. I have to stop taking the circuitous route and deal with that heart head on.

Maybe I should first open up the windows and let the ghosts of every love lost fly away. Maybe this house is still brewing and breathing with all of the phantoms of my unrequited affection. All the apparitions of our bad decisions. All the spirits of love gone wrong. Maybe I have not yet eulogized my broken heart and buried it along with the sin soaked sheets of yesteryear. Maybe I am still hoping and waiting and wishing on shooting stars.

Or maybe I should not open up the windows. Maybe I should just burn this house to the ground. Build it back up from the ashes. Maybe that is the only way to let go of it all.

Or maybe I am afraid. No, not maybe. I am absolutely and unequivocally afraid. I’m afraid that someone will be so perfect for me or so ruinous for me, and either way that would mean having to shed my layers and let them in. I’m afraid to open up the junk drawers of my past and pull the blanket above all my shit I hide under the bed. I’m afraid that I will fall hard and then you’ll decide one day that love doesn’t live here anymore.

That is why I always get close, but not too close. It’s why I always take on the role of friend without ever reading over the script to audition for the role of soulmate. Because I’ve watched my heart burst and have been left to hold her when she breaks. I know my love is a forest fire that engulfs every bit of me. I know my love knows no bounds and crosses all boundaries. I know my love is true and mad and deep and dense and savage. I know my love is my greatest natural disaster.

Everyone keeps asking me about you.

And I can’t tell them that I’m working on the book. I can’t tell them that I’m looking for a new job. I can’t tell them that I would rather remain single or that I’m really not into dating right now. Those would all be lies. The book is done. The new job is secured. And last week when the dentist jabbed my gum with a shot of local anesthesia, all I could think was that I wanted someone there to hold my hand. Maybe that someone was you. You. Abstract you. Passionate, patient and completely nonexistent you.


Dimensions of Black Womanhood: The Lover and The Nurturer

November 17, 2015

“If someone does not want me it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings.” ― Nayyirah Waheed

Alexis: The Lover


Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

One of my guilty pleasures is reality TV…well, more so an obsession rather than a guilty pleasure. And one of the more ridiculous shows that I love to indulge in is RuPaul’s Drag Race. What could be better than watching 10 drag queens vie for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar”? I’ve watched it for a few seasons now and yes, the crazy costumes and drag queen drama sessions are entertaining, but there is one part of the show that resonates with me no matter what season I am watching. At the end of each episode, Ru’s tagline to the queens is “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anyone else?”

I have spent the good part of the last year finding out what that really means.

Read more of Alexis’ story here.


Raven: The Nurturer

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

Society tells us to be nurturing is to be a woman. The caregiver, the school teacher, the consoler, the sacrificer, the advice giver, and the support system. Society places all of these roles under the command of women who are expected to fulfill them with grace and absolute consent.

My mother and grandmother are quintessential examples of the word “nurturer.” They seem to tirelessly give emotional, mental, spiritual, physical and financial support to their loved ones, all while raising their own families, working and maintaining their respective homes. And seeing how their actions were rewarded, I took pride in how caring they were. I saw how the family gravitated around them with love and admiration, turning to them for advice. My mother and my grandmother always seemed to know what to do or say for any situation. They are the rocks of the family.

Read more of Raven’s story here.

On Writing: Tearing Down Walls, Digging Up Wells

November 12, 2015

To write well is to kiss the same bullet that tried to wipe you out.

You must be willing to go there. Yes, there. All the way there. Deep sea diving to the dead sea of your story.

If it sounds too daunting or too morbid or simply too absurd, then you are not ready. You are not ready to do this thing called writing. I do not blame you. We’re not taught to tell the stories of our skeletons. No, we’re taught and told to bury them deep in the closet, all the way in the back with highwater jeans and prom gowns we’ll never wear again. We forget that our skeletons are still somehow the foundation upon which everything else is built and the one thing left when everything else turns to dust. We aren’t ever reminded that there is something beautiful in those bones we bury.

So, you’ve got to go there. You’ve got to show the world the beauty in your buried bones.

Then you’ve got to tear down the walls. The red bricks you’ve been ducking behind. The red bricks are Instagram, and the red bricks are that strong Black woman bullshit, and the red bricks are every time you say you’re fine when you are absolutely not fine. The red bricks are the lies you tell yourself so you can sleep easily at night. You’re over him. Or you don’t care. Or you’re happy with the way things are. The red bricks are what make you seem impenetrable, but turn your soul ice cold.

You have got to cut the bullshit. Once and for all, now and forever.

You have to crack away at the red bricks. Brick by brick. You’ve got to spend a few nights sprawled across the floor with tears in your eyes and a roaring lion in your heart. You’ve got to rub the makeup off of your scars and see them for what they truly are.

Then you have to dig up the wells. You’ve got to drink a full glass of your own well water. You can’t filter it, and you can’t dump it into a Brita container. People will tell you that the well water of your story is unfit for human consumption. They’ll convince you it’s gross and unhealthy, and that you should only provide others with a filtered version of that narrative. But, that’s your story. Your best work and your bravest words are hidden in that glass of well water. Sip. Chug. Gargle. Spit it back out in paragraphs and iambic pentameter. Someone else is eager to lap it up. Someone else needs to drink it down. Someone else is parched, living in a desert of their own deceit and waiting for a sip of someone else’s truth.

The best writing comes from our wombs and our wounds, our broken walls and our dug up wells. It’s born from the temples in the pit of our bellies. The smoke from the wildfire. The blood behind the bruises. The grit at the bottom of the glass. To write well is to have survived hell. To write well is to face your demons head on. To write well is to declare that you don’t have a damn thing to be ashamed of. To write well is to undress your flaws and uncork the emotions you kept bottled up. To write well is to think less and feel more. To write well is to kiss the same bullet that tried to wipe you out.

To write well is to be willing to go there. Yes, there. All the way there.


2015 Black weblog awards final round promoShameless plug while we’re on this note about writing: Twenties Unscripted has advanced to the final round in the Best Writing category for the Black Weblog Awards! Thanks to everyone who voted in the first round. I would be over the moon if you could head over to www.blackweblogawards.com and show your love by voting one more time! Final round voting ends Nov. 17. Thank you!!


Dimensions of Black Womanhood Pt. I | The Revolutionary and The Rebel

November 10, 2015

“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”– Audre Lorde

Roconia | The Revolutionary

photo credit: @jazzthenoise

photo credit: @jazzthenoise

There’s nothing revolutionary about making a cup of tea. Unless, of course, the tea is your own.

I stirred my cup of tea and started a typhoon.

Step 1: Fill a kettle with fresh, cold water and bring to a boil. 

You never forget the moment the music stops. When life stops being a party and you stop being a princess. You never forget the moment you’re dropped from the clouds of exemption into a pile of real life shit. At that very moment, you begin to cherish every move of your last naïve dance.

Read more from Roconia here.

Denni: The Rebel


photo credit: @jazzthenoise

noun: rebel; plural noun: rebels

a person who resists authority, control, or convention.

nonconformist, dissenter, dissident, iconoclast, maverick

Being a rebel—for any reason or cause—is not easy. It’s often a lonely existence. It’s easier to just “go with the flow” on everything. To not challenge. To not ask questions.

For me, fortunately and unfortunately, taking the “easy road” has never been an option. Even when I try to sit quietly while listening to or seeing a micro or macro injustice, my true self—my intuition, spirit, the voice in my head—shouts at me and says “Rise up!”

Read more from Denni here.