Category Archives: reflection

For The Days When It Feels Like Love Eludes Me

May 22, 2017

One.

You were never a little girl who dreamed of white dresses or picket fences, but you are a now woman who dreams of love. Lately your dreams have transformed into hunger, an insatiable abyss at the pit of your stomach that you simply can’t seem to ignore.

Two.

You’ve written this story one million times before. You don’t want to write it anymore. Each time your fingers curl to pen this narrative, you tell yourself that these words are the flesh a horse you’ve beaten to death. You don’t want to keep shouting and screaming on the Internet that you are yearning to be loved; it’s a chapter of your memoir that has grown stale. Yet you will write this story again and again because you know that you aren’t the only one. You can’t be the only one. There are other people out there starving just like you.

Three.

Some days you are fragile and easily shattered, unable to swallow the flurry of wedding photos that now dance across your newsfeed. You don’t want to be that person who can’t muster up a double tap to co-sign someone else’s happiness. But some days you are that person simply because you are a human being, a thread of emotions that do not always connect and can’t always be contained. Forgive yourself and log off. Pick up your broken pieces.

Four.

One afternoon you will write, “What I judge in others that is in me is a proclivity to plant deep roots with men who are unattainable, or will never have the capacity to love me in ways that truly nourish and nurture all the parts of me.” You will ink those words on the unlined pages of a book during Ashley’s writing workshop. It will be the first time you confess to yourself and to a small room of women that you are a willing participant in your own disarray. It will both liberate and trouble you to know that the pattern of men you’ve tethered yourself to is not coincidental.

Five.

The process is defined as a “systematic series of actions directed to some end.” Perhaps the greatest action in that systematic series is scraping through your wreckage and finding a way to love yourself, time and time again. Let the love for yourself rise from every cave you’ve traversed and every corner you once overlooked. The most savory love peeks out from behind hidden places.

Six.

Forego the impulse to fill your life to the brim with distractions. Sit quietly with your demons. Listen to the stories each one of them has to tell.

Seven.

Drape yourself in a kimono of grace. Let it cover your shoulders and drip down your arms. For the days when you keep asking yourself why it seems like love is this golden thing that keeps eluding you, wear an extra armor of tenderness. Those are the days to believe that the Universe is simply doing its work. Those are the days to trust the process. Those are the days to remember that you are flawed, fragile, beautiful and complex, deserving of love just like everyone else and on a jagged journey to uncover it some day.

Xoxo,
Tyece

To Honor Your Becoming and Unfolding

May 4, 2017

A letter to my 23-year-old self

The year is 2013 and you are starving for everything. Success. Connection. Authenticity. Love. A sense of belonging. A tribe you trust and treasure. Yes, right now you are starving for everything, and no matter how much you grab at the shelves, it feels like the cupboards are never stocked enough.

There is something about being 23 years old that makes your eyes bigger than your stomach.

You want all of the things, but there are only specific morsels and people and experiences that you can digest with ease. Your spirit will reject everything you crave that was never meant for you.

You are floating among three points of a triangle. One point is you shedding your old self, crawling out of a tunnel with walls built from tragedy and roads paved from despair. The second point is you finding yourself, learning what it means to stand tall in the rich soil of being a black woman.The last point is you holding steadfastly to the things you believe to be true, so steadfastly that sometimes you stunt your evolution.

You don’t yet know how resilient your heart is because you never give her a chance to bounce back. Instead you continue battle testing her, crushing her underneath the weight of unrequited love that breeds bloody slashes. It will take some years and some broken glass to master how to protect your most vital organ.

I can only write this letter to you now, four years later, as I bear witness to the way other women your age both break and blossom. When I see them, I see you, and I remember all of the tightropes you crossed and tug of wars you fought to get here. I remember all of the things you believed about yourself that no longer hold water. I remember your relaxed hair and your defiance about having children and all of your convictions that now feel like lost islands. When I see them, I decide that there are five beautiful and tangled lifetimes that occur between ages 23 and 27.

I write this now to honor your becoming and unfolding. Stay the course and discover the beauty in each of your cracks. That is the only way you will arrive here, four years later, dancing beneath moonlight and carrying your whole heart.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Embracing Blessings and Waiting to Exhale

April 3, 2017

Photo by Jazzmin Awa-Williams

Listen for the whir of tires.

Any time I back out of my parents’ driveway, that is what I do. I listen for the whir of tires. With blind spots in both directions, the only way to know if a car is coming down the road is to turn the radio down and listen for the whir of tires.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

I want to collect the past three months and put them into words, but those words aren’t coming easily. I want to do the thing that feels most natural to me–wrangle the emotional cyclones and personal shifts that have been whipping around and turn them into verses. But I am not quite sure how to distill everything from this past season into a brew of letters and words. I am not quite certain how to tell you that right around the time the cherry blossoms began to bloom, my world elevated. Things changed. Layers shed. Old paths gave way to new galaxies. Prayers I never thought to utter were answered.

Yes, I want to collect the past three months, bottle them up, and uncork that bottle with prose and paragraphs and poetry. I want to walk you through the maze of emotions I’ve felt and experiences I’ve had, a maze I believe explains why I’ve spent much more time in my head than on the page. I want to tell you that many days, I still hold my breath when things seem too good to be true. I still wait for the ground to move beneath my feet. I still do the mental math of all of the dreadful things I’ve done and wonder when my good fortune will expire. I still know how cyclical and seasonal life is, and I struggle with the fine line between embracing my blessings and waiting to exhale.

But the words do not come as easily anymore. They do not always arrive at 7 p.m. when I sit down with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. I can’t squeeze them out the way I once did. The experiences want to linger much longer. The words want to play and dance in my mind much more. And those words often times arrive at inconvenient hours, like 12:50 a.m. when I should have been in bed two hours before. The words are stubborn now; they want to wait to land thunderingly in the ink of book 2. The words don’t always want to get dropped off into an Internet abyss, a place that doesn’t feel like home as much as the crisp pages of a memoir.

Evolution is a fragile thing. A complex thing. A dense thing. Evolution is a knotted thing, not easy to photograph or document or, in this case, wrangle into words. Evolution is not pronounced or easily predicted. Sometimes it is the kind of thing you only notice once you are en route to the next place, glancing into your rearview mirror and realizing just how much the town behind you has changed.

But, if you listen for the whir of tires, sometimes, you know an evolution’s coming. You hear it, first from afar and then up close.

I did not always listen for the whir of those tires. But, they are within earshot now.

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

Something About Turning 27

January 12, 2017

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My feet are on a different sidewalk of solid ground. I don’t know when it happened. It seems foolish to say that there was something about turning 27 a few months ago that picked me up from the rubble of earlier days and dropped me in this newfound place. Because there is hardly anything special or magical or definitive about turning 27. I am still new. Green. Young. Impressionable. Prone to making mistakes. I’m still following a compass that sometimes sends me into deep seas and dark oceans.

So, yes. It seems foolish to say there was something about turning 27 that reshaped the world and my precious place in it.

And, yet, there was something about turning 27.

There was something about driving up to the sunset of this first decade of adulthood, something that has pushed me to trim the fat, face the facts, and apologize less for the spaces I inhabit. There was something about this age that yanked the curtain up on the woman I am instead of the woman I spent one too many years trying to be.

There comes a point where you can’t run away from yourself; that point both liberates and elevates you. Maybe that is the something about turning 27.

I’m through with running away from myself. I am through with sitting under dim lights as I lean coyly over the table, saying one thing to a man while my spirit screams another. I am through with barricading myself behind walls and praying they won’t crumble. I am through cutting emotional deals with the devil or pouring gasoline on my wildfire heart just to keep up appearances. My portrayal of the cool girl while I was in my early twenties deserves a standing ovation, but she has performed her final act.

Sometimes knowing what you’re not is just as important as knowing who you are.

I am dense and intense, fragile and flammable, a woman with her heart turned up two volumes higher than recommended. I am the sum of all of the goodbyes I ever said and all of the scars they ever left. I am equal parts concrete and shattered glass, whole and broken, complete and wildly unfinished.

And, yet, here I am. Because there was something about turning 27 that summoned me to start singing all of the notes on my staff.

I want to fall hard. I want to dig deep. I want to dive under. I want to taste love on my lips. I want to live big. I want to apologize less. I want to take up all of the space the Universe already carved out for me. I want to stop wanting and instead start soaking up the distance in between then and now, before and after, the things that were and the things that will be.

Maybe therein lies the sweet something about turning 27.

Xoxo,
Tyece