Beauty

Another Thorn, Another Rose (Mental Illness as a Blessing)

I fight against harm perpetrated both by the myth of the Strong Black Woman and the stigma my culture attaches to mental illness every day. Since 1619, America nurtures me to mute my emotions, my pain, and my fear.

This is for you, Love.

This is for you, Love. You who stands with arms outstretched and ready to receive. I see you, and I celebrate you.⁠ For you, it’s always Mother’s Day. There is no need for birth certificate or birthright with you—you are not defined by nature or pedigree. Family is more than blood to you, and your […]

Autocorrect Me

“On plane with temporary wife.” This is the text my husband almost sent, seconds before takeoff and a 13-hour communication vacuum. He caught autocorrect just in time. Lucky for him, or he would have found his earthly belongings strewn across our driveway as a welcome home. Wi-Fi to Wife is not much of a semantic […]

She is Valor

Tell me your brush with greatness. How often have we danced around this one—in ice-breakers, job interviews, admissions essays? Predictability aside, it’s an intriguing litmus test. This was the first speech I assigned students in my Public Speaking & Discussion course. Because, really, who doesn’t want to stand in front of a college classroom of […]

Choosing to be Black Living History

won’t you celebrate with me   won’t you celebrate with me what i have shaped into a kind of life? i had no model. born in babylon both nonwhite and woman what did i see to be except myself? i made it up here on this bridge between starshine and clay, my one hand holding […]

It’s Back. Period.

I used to curl up on the bathroom floor the day my period started. I wanted the cool hardness to counter my writhing body, and I’d lay there for hours, uninterested in books or television, until the pain calmed. The blood and the discomfort seemed unjust then, and now, for me, and especially for women […]

Rhythms that Return Us To Ourselves

T.S. Eliot writes, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” I am forty-one and a half. And lately, I’ve been sensing that God is calling me, like the prodigal, to return to my senses—to […]

My Highly Sensitive Life

The most damaging and hurtful criticism frequently spoken over me as a child was this simple phrase: “You’re too sensitive!” I was three or four the first time I remember hearing it. The hours I spent playing in our small sandbox were punctuated by frequent requests for my mom to take off my navy blue sneakers, […]

The Ten-Year Challenge

Not too long ago, my (admittedly limited) social media feed blew up with something called “The Ten-Year Challenge.” I scrolled through predictable pictures of glossy people apparently untouched by time, alongside regular folks like me who have (shockingly!) aged ten years in the space of a decade. I pulled up a random picture of myself […]

New Life Starts in the Dark

Ok, God. I’m ready. I’ve been in the tomb for a while now and, FYI, as I lie here, struck down by chronic illness, unable to get out of bed for hour after hour, day after day, week after week . . . year after year . . . I am MORE than ready to […]

Wading into Chaos

I spend most of my waking hours creating. In this very moment, my office is cluttered with dozen of books, sticky notes, 4X6 cards taped to my walls, medical forms waiting to be filled out, snacks, empty coffee mugs, and camera gear needing to be put away. I’m surrounded by chaos. Genesis 1 seems to validate my experience that there is no creation apart from chaos.