[A note for listeners: today’s installment is NSFW.]
Collect the majority of the men I’ve dated. Summon them to a room. Bring me in. Close the door. Witness my heart as it flutters, twists, turns, and sinks.
Because when, truly, are we ever over the lovers who at one point or another set us free?
I only heal because of time, disruption, willful ignorance and the next person who comes along to set me free once more.
The essay you’re about to listen to was penned more than four years ago, but its themes still ring true, albeit in the tone of different people. Different places. Different points in my lifelong love story. Here’s the second installment of Stories That Vibrate, “Not Quite Over You.”
Revisiting your old writing is less like looking in the rearview mirror and more like finding your way back home. Your first home. The place you grew up in. The space and land and grass and fences and hardwood floors that all remind you of a distinct era in time. You are not that writer anymore. Your sentences are cleaner; your voice hums with intention. You are not that woman anymore. Your life has more shape; your purpose now has testimonies behind it. You are not that human being anymore. You are a product of the way time heals old wounds and gives way to new evolution.
But, that is still your home.
Two years ago, I put this thing out into the Universe called a book. And at the time, it was my life’s work. Now, there are days when I’ll nonchalantly thumb through it and flinch at the blind audacity and ignorance of some of the things I put in ink. But, it’s still home. Those are still my stories. There are still traces of that woman I used to be hidden in my crevices. Hell, there are still parts of that woman taking up space at my core.
Stories That Vibrate is a limited edition series that revives five of my favorite essays from Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity through audio. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share these on the blog. A huge thanks to my creative partner-in-crime Austin Weatherington (who produced the audio for last year’s Love Me Well project) for producing this series, and affirming this vision long before I even started recording.
It’s been a hell of a year, and I haven’t been able to visit this Internet home as much as I would like. But, I hope you’re still vibing with me and I hope you enjoy this first installment of Stories That Vibrate. Here’s “Every Time I Want to Text You.”
Author’s Note: Today is my last post until the week of March 21. It has been an unbelievably amazing start to 2016 with the showcase, a trip to Charleston to speak, the launch of TyeceWilkins.com, and everything else God has been gracious enough to send my way. But a lot of hard work has accompanied these incredible moments. So, it’s time for a break to rest, regroup, and get ready for whatever the Universe will bring next.
I wanted to write it all down. Wanted to get it on paper before the memories start spilling through the cracks in between my fingers. I wanted to relive it. Replay it. Remember it. I wanted to let those memories pick me up and twirl me around before life got in the way. Before bills got in the way. Before the pendulum swing between the present and my unending pursuit of purpose got in the way.
Except there isn’t any way to write it all down. I can’t capture that night in photos or videos or hashtags or even this blog post. I can’t sum it up in the few sentences I spit out when my coworkers asked me how it went. I can try. I will try. I have tried. But so far I can’t find a direct translation for how much my heart fluttered on Saturday night when my life’s purpose played out. Live. Direct. 100%.
I’ve written about “See. Speak. Feel.” before. The history. The failures. The doubt. The success. But, this year was the first year that the show and the people in it reflected the very reason I have been put on this Earth. If all of that sounds lofty and ridiculous and too nebulous to handle, that is because finding your purpose in life is often times lofty. Ridiculous. And too nebulous to handle.
I told my sister during the early weeks of planning that I wanted a dynamic show. Less reading. More performance. People giving it all they had. But soon enough the stress of managing the event outweighed that vision. I was herding cats. Fighting fires. Just trying to push my boulder of a baby uphill and across the finish line. I stopped thinking about what I told my sister all those weeks ago and gave in to my inevitable “this has to get done” modus operandi.
I dropped exactly three f-bombs in rapid succession five minutes before showtime. Murphy’s law stepped in and started playing with my spirit. My nerves stood on edge. The more anyone tried to calm me down, the more my blood boiled. We had to change something at the last minute. And then the plan shifted and we didn’t have to change that something anymore. By the time I sat near the booth to direct the show, I wasn’t even thinking about what to expect. I wasn’t thinking about this moment I created. I wasn’t thinking about purpose and I wasn’t thinking about that vision. I was thinking about sucking down a drink laced with alcohol once it all was finally over.
But, like every year, soon enough I settled into the show. Last year it didn’t happen until intermission. This year it happened during the second performance. I absorbed it. Watched it. Hollered when I liked a line. Waved my hands. Clapped. Laughed. Thanked God and his angels that the mics worked. Smiled when our stage manager knew exactly what to do without being prompted. Enjoyed myself. Relinquished the stress. Assumed full ownership of the vision.
When I say my purpose is to spark people to connect to the best, bravest, and boldest parts of themselves, that statement unnerves me. It feels like a giant pair of shoes to fill. It scares me that at the ripe age of 26, God has made that purpose so crystal clear and already allowed it to manifest in so many ways. Sometimes it makes me scratch my head and wonder what’s next? It makes me feel undeserving when there are people who spend entire lifetimes searching for the reason why their feet have been planted on this planet. I know why I’m here. Now. Tomorrow. Forever. So, when I say my purpose is to spark people to connect to the best, bravest, and boldest parts of themselves, as scary as it is, I know it’s right. It’s real. It’s rooted in everything I have come to learn about this life, the space I inhabit, and the energy I create.
I saw that purpose take on new life last Saturday. I saw it in my sister and the Adele notes she belted out, even after I told her “That’s a hard song. Adele messed it up at the Grammy’s.” I saw it in Roconia and Sharonia, whose unbreakable sisterhood radiated during their performance. I saw it in Jamé who went from managing the registration table at last year’s show to blowing the audience away with a poem (that she wrote that same morning!). I saw it in Yetti who rose to the challenge of reciting spoken word about the very palpable and universal concept of heartbreak. I saw it in Tassika when she smiled at the audience in between reading lines that left you swaying and humming “Yassss.” I saw it in Kalani who has not sang publicly in decades, but gave me shivers with an a capella version of Share My World. I saw it in Teresa who won our impromptu dance contest last year and went on to wow people as the only dancer this time around.
I saw my purpose in each of these women and everyone else who touched this year’s show. I witnessed people connect to the best parts of themselves. The brave parts. The bold parts. I watched them embrace the visions they had of themselves. Elevate the bar. Raise the standard. Rise to the occasion. These flickers of magic were inside each of them all along, dancing around in different ways. Peeking out. Creeping out. Waiting for a chance to burst and see the light of day. I’m grateful the stage was set to become that spark.
I don’t know if I can write it all down. I can’t translate entirely what that night meant for me or what it affirmed. But I can tell you there is not a better feeling in this lifetime than to dance, jump, and bask in your purpose. I can tell you that I want every single day to feel like the first Saturday in March.
The story goes a little something like this: two years ago, I had nothing more than advice from Melinda Emerson that I needed to purchase a dot com for my blog coupled with an insatiable hunger to write. That was it. July 5, 2012 was the day I bought the domain name for www.twentiesunscripted.com and it has been a wild, unpredictable and life-affirming ride ever since then.
In some ways, the blog’s “birthday” has become bigger than my own. Perhaps it’s a bit strange to celebrate the birth of an inanimate object, but this blog is my lifeblood. It gives me meaning and purpose to have a place to share my truth and connect with people who receive that truth. It’s a tough thing to explain without turning into a half-crazy zealot the way I did a few nights ago when a friend of mine mocked me about a blog post. (I may have set the Guinness World Record for number of times “go fuck yourself” was uttered in a conversation, but that’s neither here nor there.)
I’m reserving this entire month to writing specific posts about this journey, the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned and the gratitude I have. So, I will not squeeze all of those heavy things into a few paragraphs here. Instead, on the blog’s birthday, I want to honor the one thing that has kept this blog afloat–the writing. I’ve written a lot. Like A LOT. Like A LOT, A LOT. I’ve done my best to re-read my work and pull the bits from the past year that I think most reflect this space, my evolution as a writer and my propensity to say really ridiculous shit. Hope you enjoy this Twenties Unscripted trip down memory lane.
“Well, I started the blog because I didn’t hear my voice anywhere else. I wasn’t Lena Dunham. I wasn’t your Black Queen. I wasn’t Carrie Bradshaw. Oh, wait, Carrie Bradshaw isn’t real. Either way, I was some misfit of a writer with all of those influences projected on me, but none of them entirely emblematic of my life experience.” “I Rant, I Roar, But Mostly, I Write: 2013 Twenties Unscripted Mantra” July 10, 2013
“The primary way I’ve made an ounce of sense out of the past few years of my life is to write about them. Observe it. Experience it. Write it. Do not sugar coat it; life does not come to us complete with preservatives. It is raw, rare and uncooked. Sometimes it is ugly, unusual and unfortunate. But, that is what it is. So, you write through it.” The Rise Of The Woman Confessional Writer July 23, 2013
“I hope that by the time I’m 30, Twenties Unscripted became something. That if nothing else, it drove people to figure their shit out and make mistakes while doing it.” When Twenties Unscripted Is All Said And Done August 15, 2013
“When someone has only one foot in your life, their partial residence is more agonizing than their absence. Sure, at first you believe you are saving yourself the eternal sting of their vacancy, so you comply with the scant texts, the “let me hit you up” later and the invitations you initiate that they never seem to fully accept or outright deny. They are a master of diplomacy, saying things that do not blatantly make them an asshole but also not saying things that would undoubtedly persuade you of their feelings. Every text becomes a game, every conversation becomes a ball of nerves, every night ends in you sitting up in bed picking apart their sentences until you are down to their syllables.” Either Be In My Life Completely Or Not At All August 19, 2013
“Don’t chill out. Speak up. Think. Feel. Care about something. Be excitable and be excited. Let things ignite you. Be a pistol. Be a thunderbolt. Be someone at a dinner table with something thought-provoking to say.” You Don’t Need To Be A Chill Girl; Feelings Are Allowed September 18, 2013
“That’s why I think we have to dismantle this mantra of ‘keeping it real.’ It’s as though people can be outright douchebags and hide it under the guise of ‘just being honest’.No. It’s not honesty. It’s assholery at its finest and you need to learn and implement some tact in your life.” There’s A Difference Between Keeping It Real And Being An Asshole September 24, 2013
“Do not surrender your twenties to being a fraud. Stop faking friendships, stop faking relationships, stop faking happiness, stop faking your interests, stop faking orgasms. Just quit. And, learn how to get yourself on a path to the real thing. Learn how to chop down the weeds, cut through the bullshit and find the authentic thing. It’s there.” Do Not Surrender Your Twenties Pt. 2 October 7, 2013
“It never ceases to blow my mind when women know how many carats they want on an engagement ring and they don’t even have, um, I don’t know…a boyfriend? Wouldn’t that be the first step? It’s amazing that you can know you want a princess cut diamond and you don’t even have a fucking 401K.” The Silly Obsession With Engagement Rings October 23, 2013
“Rip up the sketch. Eradicate the image. Let go of the expectations others set for you, or worse, the ones you set for yourself.” Let Go Of How It Should Be October 30, 2013
“I sometimes doubt myself and my work. Not too long ago, I changed the title of a post about
ten times before I clicked publish. I worry about teetering the fine line between using my life as my material and keeping enough of myself private. I try not to drop a plethora of f-bombs per my parents’ suggestion. (Hey, Mom and Dad.) I work hard not to exploit my friendships or relationships. But, I also try to give enough of myself so that people, especially women, connect and see themselves. Because I know that no matter how tired I get, every day I work at this, I am doing something I adore. Few things in life can replace a feeling like that.” Writing, Goals And General Musings About WTF I’m Doing With My Life November 20, 2013
“Don’t let people tell you your twenties are 10 years of the same shit. And, if they tell you that, don’t listen to them. Don’t let that happen. Don’t believe them. Let yourself evolve and grow and change and let go. If you are the same person at 24 who you were at 21, you’re not doing this thing right.” The Difference Between 21 And 24 January 13, 2013
“Feed your passion. Get that check. And, if the rubber finally meets the road and you find a way to do those both simultaneously, well, that’s fucking amazing and some celestial being has looked out for you. But, do not sit idle waiting for that to happen. The rubber does not meet the road without you being on a relentless grind. Move. Work. Bust your ass. Then bust your ass some more.” Passion And Paychecks February 5, 2013
“I don’t want part. I want the whole. The entire fucking whole. I want the stories and the passion and the scars. I want the lust and the love and yes, the attention. I want someone to have my back the way I have theirs. I want someone to hold my dreams close and hold my secrets closer. I want someone to give of themselves fully the way I believe in giving of myself to others. The way I believe in giving of myself to everything in this world that I do. Every relationship I take on, every friendship I value, every goal I chase after. I do not want part. I want the whole.” Settling For Part When You Can’t Have The Whole March 4, 2014
“But, know that passivity is a decision. Keeping him around is a decision. Turning a blind eye to
what happened is a decision. People are quick to mistake doing nothing as indecisiveness. Doing nothing is a decision. Inertia is a decision.” Doing Nothing Is A Decision April 30, 2014