Recap: 15 Of My Favorite Quotes From Write Your Ass Off April

May 5, 2016

Write Your Ass Off October

On the surface, it was a simple call to action: share your most naked, brave, no holds barred writing for 10 days. But, naked, brave, no holds barred writing is no simple task.

See, naked, brave, no holds barred writing means visiting your wounds and digging up the dirt from your dark places. That kind of writing means crying when it spills out of your fingertips and closing your eyes before  you click publish. That kind of writing is tough. Heart-wrenching. Exhausting.

But, it’s the only kind of writing I know. It’s the only kind of writing that leaves me wanting more. It’s the only kind of writing I hope to challenge others to create.

Last month, women (and a few good men) joined me for the Write Your Ass April. What I learned about myself throughout the challenge was one thing. But, the wildfire that raged across the Internet from the other writers was another thing entirely. I am so moved and wowed by each person who committed to this challenge, dumped their hearts out, showed their scars, and shared their stories.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from some of the Write Your Ass Off April writers.

“But you haven’t truly lived until you’ve been betrayed. Passed over and around, kicked to the side in favor of the pursuit of riches, status, sex, their own interests. And given the opportunity to repay the evil, I didn’t kick back.” –Mia Anika | Love

“And then I paused because the idea of being consumed had turned into a reality. It became a struggle between feeling that good, good and knowing the longer I lived in your flame, the more I would cease to exist. We were becoming a bigger you, not a grander Us.” –Syn | Ignite

“I learned the art of elusiveness from a man I once craved. I knew that I could never really have him because he would always belong to himself. I envied that and have gone to great lengths to be as enticing unto others as he was to me.” RIF | Complicate

“Yes, the weight of the man can spark, but the softness of your own touch will set your body ablaze.” –Minnie | Ignite

“You were the one piece of colored clothing that spilled beautifully into the rest of my whites.” Tassika | Spill

“We’re coming for the stigma. Don’t lump us into a category of businesses and people who don’t believe in the words and actions they’re putting forth, and are barely scraping the surface. Mental Health Awareness, building a young woman’s unbreakable belief system, reprogramming the way a society thinks? That is not a fad.” Yetti | Ignite

“I confess that Tyece created a masterpiece…Each word was chosen to cover my life in a perfect sequence. I doubt the world will ever see me like this again. They probably won’t be able to see me the same after these ten days. This is a one-of-a-kind discovery. It’s borderline a mental breakdown expressed on paper that prompts enlightenment and a new sense of security.” Cicely Rue | Confess 

“But we are no neat little narrative. Our expository moment was a fit of sparks and starts and stops and lingering chemistry and starting again. This tale features neither hero or villain, but two people who’ve played both roles interchangeably. Our dialogue wasn’t linear. Words spilled left and right until we found bits of ourselves in the depths of each other’s hidden, murky places. We’ve shared no single climactic moment. Pardon me, but I’d like a lifetime of those.” –The Skinny Black Girl | Spill

“Once someone told me I was mysterious, and I took it as a compliment. I wasn’t anti-social or mean, my personal business was just my business. Now it almost feels like that mysteriousness is working against me. I have a big head full of secrets. Some of them are my own, some belong to others.” –Donnica | Confess

“He takes me slowly, quietly, methodically. He’s learned our melody and he’s playing it perfectly. He stops to kiss me, to look at me, to kiss the freckles on my face. He’s studying me, as I am him, so he can take this with him when he leaves.” –La | Heal

“Love, I’ve imagined you as safety. I’ve been told that you are more than mere feelings and it takes work to have and keep you but, I’m afraid to say, our paths must have crossed, cut each other off and created confusion where certainty should be known.” –De’Nita | Love

“I invited you closer
I could tell in the way your tongue chased your lips
You enjoyed the twisted straight curated mess that is me
To you
I’ve never been complicated
To you
It all makes sense.” – @Magdalenea | Complicate (Instagram)

“Permit the years of beautiful and bad memories to resurface from the vault.” –Crissi Untangled | Heal

“I am a mess at twenty-two and am all the more beautiful for fixing my fingers to form the truth. I am eye bags, and a weary back, and more tears than my ducts thought were possible.” – Fullamusings | Confess

“I think that’s what eternal love is: not being attracted by ideas or similarities, palms or lips, mouths or genitals, but being magnetized to someone at your core. I think eternal love is a patient witness. It’s not worrying about growing apart, because you know your souls will always find a way to reconnect without interfering. I think eternal love is not wanting to disrupt a person or what they’ve become, but just wanting to watch, to witness, to feel their presence, and to be a part of it somehow.” –Roconia | Love

These quotes don’t even come close to doing the magic of Write Your Ass Off April justice. So, to everyone who touched this challenge in one way or another, thank you. I can’t wait for us to do it again later this year.



Rocking Chairs

April 30, 2016


Last summer your mother and I sat in rocking chairs on her front porch talking about you. In the thick, hot heat of August, we talked about life. About broken hearts. About getting laid. About pain and God and the hot coals your death left underneath our feet. Noon became 2 p.m., and 2 p.m. became 5 p.m. I wasn’t ready to leave, so we got something to eat at the Noodles and Company in Hunt Valley. It’s that one right across from Wegman’s, the same Wegman’s we ran through as rambunctious teenagers before it was finished being built.

That afternoon with your mother, I kept glancing at my phone, knowing that my mom was calling to make sure I would be on time to see Straight Outta Compton. But, leaving your mother meant leaving the closest thing I have left to you, so I sent up five silent prayers for time to stop. That day, it almost felt like if we talked about you enough, you might just show up. Like if we kept telling stories and sharing laughs, you would zoom up in the red Jetta, waltz up the sidewalk, and say something outrageous and irreverent.

Before we parted, I urged your mom to have a birthday party a few weeks later. And because I knew I’d be in Baltimore, I bought a few flowers from the grocery store and showed up on her birthday to celebrate. I joked with her friends and other people I didn’t know. She told them about the essay, the one I wrote about you that’s now in the book. We ate cake and drank Coronas, but the air felt empty and hollow that evening.

Because it does not matter how many jokes we tell or how many laughs we bellow. They are not your jokes. They are not your laughs.

When someone leaves, the sound of their voice slips through your fingers like water. It’s the first thing you lose in a tornado of torture.

At least the pictures remind me of your face. But, I do not have your sounds anymore. The way it sounded when you laughed or said my name. The base in your voice when you said hello. The intonation when you told the story of your latest fling.

I want to believe the others when they tell me you’re somewhere in the sky, watching over all of us. I want to believe in a God who encourages me that I will see you again. I want to believe that you’ve ascended and climbed away from this ephemeral life on Earth. I want to believe that you moved on to greener pastures and better days.

But, find me on the not-so-good days, and I am not there. I do not believe. Find me on the not-so-good days, and I miss you like hell. Find me on the not-so-good days and I am angry with you for not seeing my new apartment or being the first person I call when I’m wondering if a guy really likes me or witnessing these past five years here. On Earth. Next to me. By my side. I get mad at you, the same way I did when we were rambunctious teenagers just running through an unfinished Wegman’s.

Sometimes I have not-so-good days. Because I am human, and when you left, one fourth of my heart went with you.

So, when I can’t sit in rocking chairs with your mother, I write about you. I let you run through my veins in these sentences and breathe again through these words. When I can’t sit in rocking chairs with your mother, I remember and relive you the best way that I know how.


WYAO April general promo

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a 10-day writing challenge to create your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. Learn about the challenge here and share your work on social media using the hashtag #WYAOApril. 


Masterpieces From Broken Places

April 29, 2016


The world does not need any more of our pretty pictures. It does not need the masks we wear or the facades we’ve built from scratch out of sandpaper. The world does not need our lies or grand impressions, our partial truths and twisted versions of life’s events. The world does not need half of our hearts. It does not need our fresh flowers on Sundays or our quaint living room photos. The last thing this world needs is another social media fairy tale.

So, instead, tell me about your broken places. Your ripped threads. Your shattered glass. Tell me about your black holes, your deep craters, your unhappy endings. Tell me about your roaring winds, your pouring rain, your heavy clouds.

Show me all of the ships that have sunk in your heart. Scrub the foundation off of your scars. I want to see you. Beautiful catastrophe. Delicate calamity. Woman who refuses to float on air.  I want to know that underneath all of the rock solid monuments you’ve built, you are still skin and bones, flesh and wreckage, the ink of 100 wayward lovers past.

You’ll have to dig deeply, you’ll have to pull up the roots. You’ll have to look at yourself through life’s smudged and smashed mirrors. You’ll have to cry until the whites of your eyes turn fire engine red.

Then do it again.


Once more.

Peel back the layers until your fingers grow callous. You won’t know your art unless you look behind your rough edges. You won’t know the full extent of your story until you cut it open and let bleed.

But, know that you are most beautiful in raw form. Knock over your glasses, let them shatter and spill. Allow your spirit to pour out deep red wine stains that Resolve won’t fix. Remember that the world has a surplus of insincerity and a scarcity of truth. So, make homes out of your holes and mansions out of your messes. Turn your most broken places into your masterpieces.


WYAO April general promoThis post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a 10-day writing challenge to create your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. Learn about the challenge here and share your work on social media using the hashtag #WYAOApril. 

Love Me Well.

April 27, 2016


You loved me both well and somehow not at all. In your arms, I wore both halos and horns, moved mountains and drowned under oceans. You pulled me to heaven and put me through hell. Yes, somehow you didn’t love me at all, but you still loved me well.

You loved me the way wind sashays through a hurricane–dangerous and unpredictable, destroying everything in its path. You loved me wildly and wholly, an exquisite natural disaster. After you loved me, the ground beneath my feet was never quite the same.

You loved me effortlessly, like knee-jerk reactions and 20 blinks per minute. You loved me warmly like oversized knit sweaters and hot chocolate during the blizzard. You loved me urgently, like it was both fresh off the rack, yet still going out of style. You loved me ravenously, like Sunday dinner after two church services or the first thing I’ve eaten all day.

You loved me recklessly, with venom off your tongue and blades under your eyes. You loved me carelessly, like forgetting to look both ways. We ended up one bloody mess after a head-on collision.

You loved me gradually, falling hard for the words before you even knew the writer. You loved me incompletely, like mansions with unfinished basements. I foolishly tried to make a home out of a heart still under construction.

You loved me in hushed tones and hidden passageways. You loved me like the sound of misgiving in Al Green’s Love and Happiness. Our story does not include neatly tied threads. The way you loved me is not fodder for sharing around the campfire.

But, this is the way that you loved me.

But, you. Sweet, complicated, and still unnamed you. You will love me the best. You will love me from my core to my rough edges, from my hairline to my heels. You will love me from my alpha to my omega, my Genesis to my Revelation. You will love me for the blood behind my bruises and the dirt underneath my burial ground.

Your love will take me to parts unknown and places unexamined. Your love is my pilot’s license to travel to the moon. Your love is rich and rare, golden and good, savory and sacred.

And, not yet knowing your love–still staring at the ceiling waiting for your love, still sending prayers to the sky to find your love–drills holes in my heart and makes messes of my sanity. Craving your love swells at the bottom of my belly and sucks up all the air. Wanting your love and not daring to say it has made an unsolved mystery out of me.

But, you. Sweet, complicated, and still unnamed you. You will love me through it all and you will still love me well.


WYAO April general promoThis post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a 10-day writing challenge to create your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. Learn about the challenge here and share your work on social media using the hashtag #WYAOApril. 


Sometime After 2 a.m.

April 26, 2016


They tell me nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m., and I agree. Nothing good ever happens after that time, but surely, sometimes glorious and golden things do. Sometimes in the gray hours, the ones where night bleeds into morning and sin blends into sleep, we are our truest selves. Our most unlatched selves. In the gray hours, we let down the guards and open the gates, reprimanding our inhibitions and shoving them into the corner for a long overdue timeout.

WYAO April general promoThis Write Your Ass Off April post was published as part of my Sunday Kind of Love newsletter. Read the full essay here

Write Your Ass Off April is a 10-day writing challenge to create your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. Ready to do this thing? Learn about the challenge here and share your work on social media using the hashtag #WYAOApril.