Category Archives: emotions

Soft, Beautiful, Bright Black Girl

February 15, 2017

I hope you slap your knee when you laugh. I hope you laugh hard and often, loud and unapologetically, with all of the might that your chest can withstand. I hope you cock your head back and kiss the sky with your cackles.

I hope you smile. I hope you smile not because some semblance of a man on a street corner has insisted that you turn your lips upward, but instead because there is something about this life that feels good and wonderful and brilliant. I hope you smile because you still uncover treasures in dark corners and find pennies in the holes of your pockets. I hope you smile because there is someone, some thing, some energy in your orbit that makes this life worth smiling about.

I hope you wear marigold and neon pink and fire engine red. I hope you fill the world with color and passion and spirit and vibrancy. I hope you radiate every shade of the spectrum and splatter your paint on life’s blank canvases. I hope you buzz and skip and hop and dance and strut. I hope that when other people see you, they instantly feel you, and that when their eyes meet yours, something inside of them wakes up from hibernation. I hope you never leave any place or any person the same way they were when you met them.

I hope you keep poems on your nightstand and bible verses in your heart. I hope you always have words to anchor you and quotes to carry you and sentences that rock you to sleep when the waves start rising. I hope you find solace in bell and Nayyirah and Nikki and Audre. I hope you are armored with all of the wisdom and solidity you need to build bridges over choppy waters and claw your way up crumbling mountains.

I hope you love without pretense. I hope you love in a boundless, unlimited, the-world-is-wide-open kind of way. I hope you love even after your heart has shattered. After your window panes have been broken. After you have bloodied your knees praying to God that some sort of change will come. I hope you still love without pretense. I hope you give of your wild love without reservation.

I hope you choose every day of this beloved life to remain soft and bright in a world that would rather have you be hard and darkened. I hope you let sunlight smooch your cheeks and moonlight brush your lips. I hope you never let the deck of cards stacked unfavorably against you keep you from giving this world all of the goodness you’ve got.

See, I’ve learned that this existence is full of contradictions and injustices and untidy truths. I’ve learned that black women hardly ever become angry in the blink of an eye, but instead stitch together bullet proof vests with the thread of every heartbreak and transgression they’ve ever survived. I have learned that remaining soft and bright as a black woman in this world is a choice. It is an intention. It is a battle and it is a risk. Remaining soft and bright as a black woman in this world is increasingly more difficult than just wearing your armor and moving on through.

But, still, I hope you slap your knee when you laugh. I hope you wear neon pink and keep poems on your nightstand. I hope you love with reckless abandon and let the sunlight smooch your cheeks. I hope you pen words and stir souls and enkindle the people around you with your undeniable rays. I hope you remain soft and bright. I pray you remain soft and bright. There is no greater rebellion for a black woman in today’s world than to forego the armor and elect to remain soft and bright.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Rip Through Me

February 6, 2017

I’m on my way to drinks with a friend when I realize I’m passing the restaurant where you serve part-time. My eyes dart through the window of the barely lit dining room and a fraction of my beating heart hopes to see you. It is the fraction that misses your laugh and jokes and carefree way of gliding through the world. It is the fraction that wrote you letters and returned to the last thing I penned for you any time a pang of wistfulness pulled at my gut. It is the fraction flooded by nostalgia, the part of my heart that lives waist deep in the recollection of when things were good.

And, yet, when my eyes dart through that barely lit dining room, there is another fraction of my beating heart that hopes not to see you. It is the fraction that knows memories are fun house mirrors, distorting our versions of reality. It is the part of my heart that holds hands with my mind, the two both worn thin from the emotional gymnastics my early twenties put them through. It is the fraction flooded by practicality, the part of my heart that lives waist deep in the recollection of when things fell apart.

I did not see you that night.

But, still, my memories of you are land mines, recklessly dropped across streets of the District.

On the way back to my car after drinks, just as the last traces of flashbacks fell away from me, I passed that Cheesecake Factory. It was the one where we had dinner on my birthday. I idled there and let myself get lost on a dark Clarendon street. I listened to my steps slow down as my heart sped up, the highlight reel of that night suddenly far too fresh in my mind. The Grey Goose before dinner. The way we both looked dressed in all black. Your encouragement that I wear the heeled boots instead of the flat ones. Your hand casually tossed across mine in the back of an Uber. The driver who said you were a lucky guy. The way we made waves rise and crash when night melded with morning.

My memories used to be loaded guns, cocked unflinchingly at my peace of mind. My memories were once defunct compasses, always leading me back down dead ends by way of phone numbers I promised I’d never dial again. But, now my memories are not much more than memories, emotional currents that rip through me and eventually find rest.

That night, I gave those thoughts permission to rip through me. And, sure enough, they eventually found rest.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Field Notes From the Fallout

January 24, 2017

Photo by Pedro de Sousa, www.unsplash.com

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

One. You must let your heart break. Your strong will and your rock solid resilience are not a match for the tornado winds of heartache. Your precious hands will not hold your heart together. So let go. Tilt back. Fall free. Crash hard. Resistance does not serve a heart that’s already splintered.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Two. Your heart knows things long before your mind will accept them. Your heart, your intuition, that feeling you get at the pit of your belly – those are your strongest compasses, and yet you still question them. But your heart knows. It always does. Your heart knows the very moment a connection bears a crack. Your heart knows that in the grand scheme of human connection, those cracks often times become craters.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Three. There are the shifts that happen and the courage it takes to recognize them. There is the moment two people break and the moment they choose to articulate it. These two moments are hardly ever the same. The tug of war between reality and reluctance has almost always resulted in a ripped rope.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Four. Your heart’s somewhere in between the breakdown and the breakthrough. She vacillates between letting go of something old and holding out for something new. So let the pendulum swing of the present teach you what it will. Allow the in-between moments to minister to you in the ways that only they can.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Five. Your heart will break one thousand times over in one life span. It will break because of lovers and friends and half-lovers and family. It will break because of the Universe’s relentlessness and the unpredictable ways in which the wind blows. It will break when you expect it and it will break while you are fast asleep. We do not get through the tunnels unscarred; we do not sail across the seas unscathed. So, yes, your heart will break one thousand times over. But it will mend itself one thousand times more.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Six. There is something beautiful about the way the ground rips apart when your heart breaks. It splits your world wide open and gives way to new galaxies.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Seven. You are every last one of your broken bits. You are the sacredness of your shattered pieces, the patchwork quilt of your tattered threads. You are the magic of your split skies and the grace of your new galaxies. You are the sum of your jagged edges, enchanting in the way your experiences melt together.

So, gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. Build castles from your fractured pieces and call this new place your home.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Not Getting Over, But Moving Through

December 22, 2016

Photo by GG Renee Hill

Photo by GG Renee Hill

There is something about 6:47 a.m. that my emotions can’t hide behind. They can hide behind 1:23 p.m. when I’m at my desk gulping down a cup of afternoon coffee. And they can hide behind 10:12 p.m. when the day’s events have finally worn me out and I doze off to Hey Arnold! while lying on the couch. But my emotions can’t hide behind 6:47 a.m. when I am 17 minutes into the day and all too aware of what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. At 6:47 a.m., I am in tune with the stitches of my heart that are coming undone.

Mornings are both beautiful and unforgiving in that way.

In the time since I’ve substituted my essays with other people’s love stories on this space, I wrote and concluded a love story of my own. The country imploded overnight. I danced at a friend’s wedding and shouted “Surprise!” at another friend’s going away party. I’ve watched some of my closest friends move up north and out west in a short span of time. I dug my feet into the hole I feel from not busying myself with plans for a showcase next year. I traded in publicly pouring out my heart for doing it semi-privately in other places. Some nights I told myself that I would write, only to end up opting for MSNBC viewing and 9 p.m. naps instead.

That is the thing about your twenties, and maybe that is the thing about life. You have to ride the waves when they’re high, but you owe it to yourself to ride them when they’re crashing, too.

These days, and particularly some of these recent moments, are less about getting over things and more about moving through them. Feeling them. Letting the reality bite and allowing the truth to sting. I am detached from quotable inspiration plastered to Instagram feeds, urging me to bounce back in less than 60 seconds. These days I am most drawn to letting my emotions breathe and take shape.

So, I am reeling and dealing and fighting to hold fast to faith. I am laughing and crying and feeling it out as I go. I am thinking and contemplating and sometimes only coming up with blanks. I am reminiscing and reflecting and missing summer sunsets from early September. I am craving what once was, flinching at what it became, and grappling with what will be. I am reconfiguring all of my jagged jigsaw pieces in hopes of remaining whole. I am certainly not getting over, but I am absolutely moving through.

Xoxo,
Tyece

 

Now Is Not The Time To Run

October 6, 2016

move-forward-and-taste-the-manna-of-your-evolution

Now is not the time to run.

I know.

I know fear would have you think that this is the precise moment when you should collect all of your belongings, cram them into your knapsack, and make your way to the nearest exit. History would tell you that right now is about the time when things begin to fall apart. Your head would convince you that this is as good as these things are ever going to get, so strap up your Nikes and zoom away. Do not take the risk. Do not pass go. Do not give any more. Do not try any harder.

Leave now.

Leave now before tears are shed and wounds are opened and knees have buckled. Leave now while all of your pieces are still together and all of your dignity is still in tact.

But, no. Now, my dear, is absolutely not the time to run.

See, I know you’ve been here before and are so sure of how this pendulum is going to swing, but what you have not quite learned is what lies only two steps beyond this familiar fear of yours. You do not know how it feels to push yourself forward because this is always the point where you get knocked down. You’re waiting for the fear to do what it always does–break you. Crush you. Smash you. Make a bloody mess out of you. Send you out of the ring.

But, that is not how this story goes. This is not the time to run.

The fear is not just magically going to vanish. There will not be a day when you wake up suddenly free of the shivers and shakes. Your fear will not begin to cloak someone else’s body and make a home there. It does not work like that. Fear does not fail until or unless you force it to malfunction. Until you muzzle it. Until you give it one last kiss goodbye before you take the two steps. Fear does not fail until or unless you choose to move forward and taste the manna of your evolution.

Do not run. Sit at the table. Taste the manna. Lick the plate clean. Kiss the fear goodbye.

This is the breeding ground for growth like you never knew and growth you never knew you needed.

Let your heart stretch now; it will change you forever. Let your spirit feel now; it will change you forever. Set your mind free now; it will change you forever. Everything in this moment now is bound to change you forever.

So, do not run. Lay your burdens down, tuck your Nikes back under the bed, and exhale.

One step forward.

Then one more.

But, whatever you do, please do not run.

Xoxo,
Tyece