Category Archives: Guest Writers Week

A Stupid Flick

July 20, 2016

donovan post

A Guest Writers’ Week post by Donovan Smith

We were locked in an argument coming down the steps of your front porch. I don’t even remember the topic, I just remember you being mad that I didn’t open your door after. Childish of me.

The ride there was like so many others we took that summer. I hated giving you the cord. The thought of jocquees squealing through my speakers made me nauseous, though I knew the harsh sounds of Nirvana b-sides, odd future, or satanic metal would do the same for you. I jumped track to track through Because the Internet in search of middle ground. No complaints, but no conversation either.

You were dressed for passion. Short shorts and a loose fitting shirt that cut off right at the belly button. I didn’t know you neglected a bra until we were already seated and it pissed me off. I was possessive that summer.

Jealousy couldn’t beat out my lust though. I copped a generous feel during a makeout session that was probably discourteous to the other moviegoers. It was an R rated movie; they’ll get over it. We had done much worse in the same theater.

You didn’t know I had already seen the movie with another girl the week before. We were “broken up”. You didn’t know that girl was my ex either.

It was a funny, stupid romantic movie. I didn’t plan on enjoying the movie or the date to be honest. Whatever I was mad about had already eaten up all the reserved space for happiness in the thought region of my brain. While I recycled my laughs to meet yours, there were times we looked at each other and your eyes met mine, holding my gaze with an entirely different pull. Softness. I was wearing you down that summer. I was too inward to realize that.

On the ride back you pressed the issue of us getting back together. I wasn’t into it. An argument we had multiple times before the date played out again at a much higher volume. I screamed. You laughed at me screaming. That pissed me off even more. I remember going above 70 on the interstate yelling at you while you giggled like an amused child. The thought of hitting you crossed my mind. I wouldn’t do it. I hated you with all I could gather, but I loved you even more.

You knew how to be mean and how to emasculate. Chalk it up to girl power. I could never match wits with you when it came to being hurtful. I never wanted to. But my uneven, mostly mute attitude always lent me a darker element. I made a comment about wrecking and killing us both as the truck barreled across the pavement. The words were sarcastic, but wrapped tight in dry delivery. You didn’t think that was funny. Neither did I, and seeing you become visibly disgusted with me made made me feel like the biggest asshole ever.

You didn’t want to go home with me anymore. I realized my mistake too late. I tried to lighten the mood and talk sweet. You wouldn’t let me touch you. It was silent when I pulled into the gas station to let you out. Your cousin waited in a parking spot to collect you and bring you home. I remember wanting so, so badly to hug you and cry and tell you I was sorry, but I couldn’t. Anger and pride and so much more underlying shit kept me from breaking down. You gave me a sarcastic smile when you stepped out and I finally moved. I flipped you off and drove away. I made my way home with no music playing and hot water on my face.

I never should’ve took you to see that stupid fucking movie.

Donovan Smith is a twenty year old from Chaneyville, Louisiana. He’s a depression prone young dude who takes refuge in twisting words in artful ways. Connect with him on Twitter @Lame__O and on Instagram @ _lord.nasty. 

I Must Confess, You Broke My Heart.

July 19, 2016

I wonder how it's possible that you could have completely shattered my heart while I was still trying to protect it.

A Guest Writers’ Week post by Lauren Harbury

For weeks I have sat in front of this laptop trying to find the right set of words. Words that would expose just how deeply you have hurt me, while helping me get over you. Words that would make you realize how badly you have fucked up… at least that’s what I want you to think.

I sit here and feel ridiculous. There’s the knowledge that whatever it was that happened between us was merely a blip on the radar. A short two month stint. Yet in those weeks you managed to wind yourself so deeply into my life that the mere absence of your name on my cell phone seems innately wrong.

How you could have knowingly lead me to open up to you, to share stories, scars and facts that not many people are privy to. How you could have lied in my bed, weary from “making love” at night, knowing that soon you would pack up your ever present backpack, never to return. How you could have met my friends and parents and how you could have introduced me to your people when you knew I didn’t really have a place next to you.

I sit here and wonder how you fucking sleep at night, but in the same thought, I wonder if I cross your mind before you fall asleep. I wonder if, like me, you wake up during the night and think of me, or if it causes a weird pain when Lil Dickey comes on.

I sit here and wonder how I let my guard down for you. I knew better. The words on your lips as you left, “I think you’ll find that I have been hurting you,” were as true as anything I could ever write. The way you brought me into your life and convinced me to stay is staggering. You made me feel safe, wanted, treasured, while simultaneously making me feel unstable, jealous and needy. You lifted me up, telling me that I was ingrained into your mind, sharing pictures and videos of your time with your son, talking about a future where I was there with you. You tore me down, waffling, waiting, playing games and pretending to be innocent.

You told me you were “leaning toward me”–something I should have recognized as beyond fucked up from the moment it left your lips. Asking if it was really “bad” to be lying next to me and texting I love you guys to someone else. Wrapping your arms around me each time a piece of my heart broke off on the jagged corners of your life. Convincing me that I was something truly special, not only to you, but to the world. Something cherished.

You knew that you were going to break my heart, yet you kept coming back because it was easy. I was nothing more than a vacation from what had become a hard life for you to live. I was a fun pit stop on the highway of life, a layaway where you could find adoration and support. A layaway where you could find someone to fuck. Where you could find someone to love you. Where you could feel safe.

There are so many worst parts of what happened, but the sense of being used is overwhelming.

You told me you were falling for me. You told me you wanted me to meet your brother, and more importantly your son. You spent so much of your time here, with me, holding my hand, kissing me, making love with me. You seemed so genuine, so happy. You seemed so honest, so caring. You seemed so funny, so brilliant.

You said you loved my mind, how smart I am. You said you had been looking for someone like me for so long. You said that you were ready. You said you loved that I was interested in your mind, in your stories, in your work, in the things that made you tick. You said I made you feel safe and wanted and important.

Was it just a lie? Was any of it true? Or did it just not matter?

Was it a game that you wanted to win? A trophy to put on top of your dresser? Was it nothing more than a joke, watching me make a fool of myself for you? Was it just fun to have a “rich girl” take you out for massages? Was it just a moment of weakness?

I hate that I miss you and I hate that I give a shit. I hate that today I read an article about the negative effects of giving your children melatonin and the first thing I thought about was Sean*. I hate that I listen to Sia’s House On Fire and Halsey’s Ghost and think that those two songs capture my feelings completely. I hate that every house I enter and every book store I pop into has The Goldfinch on display. I hate that you think you have the power to tell me that I can’t write about you, when you’re just afraid of the things I could say.

I hate that you think you know me, know exactly how I’ll react and what I’ll think. I hate that you had the audacity to say that you couldn’t have the pressure of knowing that I would wonder if you are coming back. I hate that you said you would miss me, but that you wouldn’t tell me. I hate that you cried. I hate that you made me feel like I needed to comfort you. I hate that you found me endearing, if your words are to be trusted.

I hate that you invited me into the relationship you have with your son, having me sit next to you while you FaceTimed. I hate that you played house with me; I hate that I know how you take your coffee and exactly how toasted you like your bagel. I hate that I know what your living room looks like and that on Thursdays I picture you sitting at the table working. I hate that after reading the first thing I wrote about us, you said that you never wanted me to feel that way. Then you did exactly the same thing.

I want to hate you, but I can’t. Instead I am trapped in this mind of mine, wondering where you are and what you are doing and if you are ever going to figure it out.

Lauren is a twenty-something who can often be found searching for the perfect IPA. An ex-Portlander, she is enjoying the warmth and sunshine of the East Coast, while acting as the glue to this network of amazing, talented individuals. She is the proud parent of a perfect rescue pup named Snugs, and just recently checked off the 14th country on her travel list. If she had it her way, she would wear lulu lemon every day, and always have a beer at lunch.

Connect with Lauren at www.twentysomethingliving.com and on Twitter @laurenharbury. 

Thirty

July 18, 2016

 

Life has taught me that’s its completely possible to love, and not be loved, or to offer truth, only to have it withheld from you.

A Guest Writers’ Week post by Austin Weatherington

Even on my best days I’m teetering on the verge of hypocrisy, which makes me wonder why I bother taking a stance on anything at all. As each hour ticks off the clock, the personal tie which so dependently binds action to truth becomes less and less secure. That’s why I knew I had to write this in the morning when I knew I’d be inspired, clear, and prepared. I don’t know much, but there are two things which cause little confusion: I know what I am, and I certainly know what I’m not.

My responsibility to love? To truth? That’s the shit which is really beginning to fuck with me nowadays. Undoubtedly those two realities are the most fulfilling experiences this life has to offer, however it’s the painful, sacrificial mystery which surround them that is the source of my torment. Life has taught me that it’s completely possible to love, and not be loved, or to offer truth, only to have it withheld from you. The stakes get raised even higher when you realize your incumbency to love is boundless, and veers far beyond the equitable participation of others. The fundamental pursuit of both love and truth is like being asked to box your own shadow.

Just last night I established a pillow-top deal with the devil, we shook on it and everything. In exchange for my truth, I was given ponderous guilt. The type of guilt you feel when the information needed to triangulate the truth, gets manipulated into a binary understanding. This was far from my first rodeo, much like a savvy businessman I deliberated the terms; pokerfaced and stern, my involvement signaling my agreement.

An endearing kiss on the neck, and an amorous squeeze of the thigh started things off. Stares, words, and the white noise of the moment began to fill the room—and others. We eagerly begin to transition our bodies from one position to the next. I was amazed by how such harmony stemmed from something so selfish. I begin to thrust deeper and deeper as if I was looking for something, and the truth is, I was. As beautiful as she was, I knew what I was looking for could not be found inside of her. Yet I wanted my search to be remembered.

**

Late nights alone leave me reflecting on life as I thumb through scripture. I have loose thoughts of getting married and buying acres of land with a Jim Crow dollar. My mind can’t seem to escape a recent conversation I had with a wise black man who challenged by understanding of my condition given the most recent homicides of unarmed black men by the hands of law enforcement. As we watched little black and brown children innocently play on the basketball court, with a thick Boston accent he stated “It’s true that we’re all crazy (human beings), but the better question is who’s winning the race?” He later explained “Let me ask you a question. Who’s crazier, the killer? Or the one who witnessed the killing and believes things may somehow be different for them?
My 30 years of life have seem to go by in all of 30 minutes, leaving in their wake an honest and sensitive disposition. Things that once didn’t seem to matter now rattle the truest parts of me. I blame the countless conversations on intersectionality and afro-pessimism, or the exhausted facial expression held by the tattered black woman in handcuffs outside of the grocery store who was being detained by police for attempting to quiet her hunger.

I’m maturing into a place where decisions–and not settlements–are the defining parameters of my life, yet I know that process will require some time which I’m still walking myself through. However, what I do know is that I want to write beautifully; with confidence and command. What I do know is that I want to love, and be loved to life, not death. What I do know is that I’ve never felt more human, or more alive.

Austin Weatherington

Austin Weatherington

Austin Weatherington is a writer and multi-media communications professional with a true passion for content creation and story development. He’s always, always, always looking to collaborate with people on things. Whenever, whatever, however; as long as its positive. 

Connect with Austin on IG and Twitter: @A4aus

Announcing Twerk, Write & Roar: Celebrating Four Years of Twenties Unscripted

June 27, 2016

Blog anniversary graphic

This happened somewhere on a rooftop bar in Chicago, after my Jack and coke and before my Corona. This happened after an 11-hour work day where I almost gave in to my old habits, the ones that tempt me to say no to plans when I know I should say yes. This happened while I sat next to Melissa Kimble for the first time ever, even though the minute we started talking, it felt like we’ve spent a million Tuesday nights together at a bar named Reggie’s.

I threw around both of my potential ideas for this year’s blog anniversary theme with Melissa, and the minute this one came out of my mouth, we both knew.

“That’s it,” Melissa told me. “That’s you.”

The words “twerk” and “write” as a duo have been sashaying through my head since the beginning of the year. I didn’t quite know what life they would take on, but as I approached my four-year mark, they finally made sense as the umbrella for this year’s theme. And roar? Roaring is my native tongue. It’s what I’ve been doing on this blog since 2012. It’s the verb that explains everything from the fonts I choose to the opportunities I create. It’s the reason I’m here: not to whisper my truth, but to shout it from the Internet skyscraper I built by hand.

Twerk, Write & Roar captures where my heart and mind are at this distinct wrinkle in time. This year has been unprecedented when it comes to my sense of personal freedom and my detachment from the treadmill. This year has been about writing my definition of carefree black-girling. This year has been about kindly pointing my middle finger to a drum that beats to the tune of fighting to remain relevant in an ever-changing online world. This year has been about silencing the noise and listening to my heart, whether her tune is a lengthy and lovelorn ballad or the best 16 bars I ever heard. This year has been about bottomless celebration. It’s about embracing the here and now despite every single demon in my head that cries to connect the dots of the future. This year has taught me that it’s one thing to live the life you’ve always imagined, but it’s another to live one you never expected.

So, let’s celebrate, shall we? Deets below.

07.15 | Twenties Unscripted DC Happy Hour 5 p.m. El Centro, 14th Street Location
If you’re in the DC area, head over to El Centro for drinks and turn up.

07.16 | Twenties Unscripted honored at Black Weblog Awards
While this is a ticketed, closed event, I can’t thank you all enough for helping me win the Best Writing in a Blog award last year! I can’t wait to celebrate with the other honorees during what’s always a very special month for me.

07.17 | Special 50th Edition of Sunday Kind of Love Newsletter
It’s hard to believe I’ve sent almost 50 editions of my Sunday Kind of Love newsletter. Look out for a special edition on July 17. You can subscribe here.

07.17-07.23 | Guest Writers’ Week – Submissions due July 10
This is always one of my favorite parts of the blog anniversary month. It’s a chance to showcase the voices of other talented writers, many of whom inspire me on the daily. If you’re interested in learning more and submitting your work for this year’s Guest Writers’ Week, click here.

And finally, the book will be on sale all month! Purchase your discounted signed copy here starting Friday, July 1.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Guest Writers Week | A New Kind of Journey

July 26, 2015

jame quote

By Jamé Jackson

I remember waking up the day after graduation feeling nauseous, a type of nausea that usually accompanies me on job interviews, exam days, or even the first time my boyfriend took me out on a date. It was a feeling I wasn’t really excited for, but I thought to myself, “Self, you just graduated college. You’re probably still worked up over that intense feeling. Don’t fret though, here’s to the rest of your life!”

Instead of being like many of my friends who found themselves popping bottles and partying into the wee hours of the morning to celebrate the biggest day thus far of our young lives, I found myself pacing the floors of my house wondering what was my next step. Contrary to the vision I had had for myself even four years prior, I wasn’t graduating with honors, with a deluxe new apartment in the sky, or even with a job based on salary and benefits. I remembered sitting in my room, tears flowing from my face as I sat and realized that I, truly, didn’t have the answers to the questions of my life.

“Well Jamé, what do you want to do, you know, as a career?” The unbearable question I felt tugged at my heartstrings. I felt I died a little inside every time the question was asked. It felt like I couldn’t just breathe for a second as a student. It felt like being a musician, being a writer, being a worker in a restaurant chain weren’t worthy of any proper acknowledgement. The worst thing, however, is that I didn’t have an answer to that question. I still don’t. And that haunts me everyday.

In my only 22 years of young living on this Earth, I’ve had to learn and prioritize what is important to me and what I could only hope to procure out of life. Through trial and error, I have learned that my own personal truth is the only thing in which I have to answer to. I had to learn, as I continue to everyday, that my own personal journey is unique in that it is MY OWN. Despite the love and affection I may receive from others who try to push me into their light, I can only create my own for myself. The thing I have learned is that I can only be the best me possible, regardless of who she looks like to anyone else.

Life is a strange thing. We’re taught from a young age what milestones we have to hit by a certain age. We’re taught to have our lives together by the beginning of college, intern, work and produce amazing grades during college, and then enter into the workforce right after college knowing exactly what we will do the rest of our lives. For an out-of-the-box thinker such as myself, I learned I was doing myself more harm than good trying to keep up with the Jones’.

I couldn’t, and still cannot, conceptualize me doing one thing for the rest of my life. I have always loved being multifaceted, but where are the people encouraging young people to pursue ALL of their dreams? Who is to say I have to only have a 9-5 job? I can’t also have a 5-9, or a weekend-only, or a contractual type of job? Why is society so warped around this perception of happiness that we don’t discuss the real issues of life? While I can’t count how many times I’ve been bombarded with the “So, what are you doing now that you’re out of school?” questions, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been asked am I happy, am I learning a new craft, or am I exploring aspects of me that I never could in school. Where I used to give others power over my life and actions, I’ve learned to take it back and happily bask in my personal journey. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

While my situation may not be the most ideal, I have learned that things will come in due time if I just patiently wait and open myself to the experience. I won’t lie, I do still have doubts at times and find myself being a hardass for not being where I want to be. However, I’ve learned that I am content in where I am and I am doing just fine. I’ve learned that the process of the journey is to teach you something, and that you should never be apologetic of who you are simply because you’re not living up to other’s expectations of you. At the end of the day, when the lights are out, and the city is silent, and all are in their beds, the only thing you will have are your thoughts that will loudly remind you if you are happy or not. Honestly, as long as my bills are paid, I am learning to care less about what others push on me, and more on what energies I pull to myself. It’s a journey. Enjoy it.

Jamé Jackson is a recent graduate of Howard University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a double major in English and Classics. A writer and classical pianist, Jamé loves traveling the D.C. area, performing in music halls and poetry ciphers. She has performed at Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, the Kennedy Center as well as Broadway. In the near future, she plans to travel overseas to continue humanitarian work in Haiti.