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World building

“You must think you’re cute or something. That’s the only way you’d look like this right now.” This was one of my cousins.

“I don’t,” I said.

“That’s right. You ain’t cute. So what’s this about?” she asked.

And then she began to grab at first my clothing, my cheap dress, the fabric a mix of things both flammable and not. And then she began to grab at my body, my arms, lined with muscles, and my legs, much sturdier than I felt.

“Stop it!” I said.

“Stop WHAT?” she asked. “I’m just letting you know who you are, who you’ll ALWAYS be.”

“Who am I?” I replied.

"Nothing special," she said. "I’m not special and neither are you."

It’s best to remember that, she seemed to be saying.

A trick of the mind will fool folks before they get a chance to read you. And, you see, someone told her she could not see greatness in herself. That’s not her role. That’s not where she rests. 

But who are all of these women finding divinity in their skin, their bodies? Who are these women who can look and feel and touch and taste and think: everything I sense is right and good? Everything about me is right and good. 

My eyes were my greatest weapon, my defense against the sites before me. You learn to soak it in and process, but never too much. If my life was a series of processes, I would be nothing but a being of hate, a culmination of hate for others and hate for myself. 

No, you must see and then unsee. See and then shred. See and then sacrifice. Sacrifice the reality of the world around you and instead build a world that sees you as perfect and divine and good. Revel in that world. Build upon that world. Make it grow into something true and from that truth you will find something realer than yesterday.  

It may not feel like fall (and thank God for that), but I’m beginning to turn back to my favorite parts of the season. Specifically, some really sharp ideas. Geoff Dyer always leads.

"Want Your Feeling" by Jessie Ware

I was wondering when Jessie would go back to that simple, yet sleek sound she first debuted with “Imagine it Was Us” and it looks like “Want Your Feeling” is the track to make its return. It is light and lovely too, like everything else Jessie has given us for this new LP. Perfect. 

Live in this

I pretend that I don’t need to see things to appreciate them, but that is not true. The act of longing, of visibility is an act of giving new value to even the most mundane or simple or kitschy items you own.

On my bedroom wall is a disco ball I purchased from RR #1, a perfect little gift shop on Chicago & Ashland. I purchased one for myself and one for Gabe, one of my best friends. He lives in New York now, but we talk most every day and looking at the ball is a reminder of what we had when we was still here and what is missing now that he is not. 

Next to the disco ball are intricate, skeletal harnesses, body chains that invoke a serious sexuality and confidence of self. My dear friend Alysse designed them and I made my first purchase even before I felt worthy of the detailed breast plates, the dangling, delicate chains, the shimmer and shine. To me, they told the story of who I wanted to be and what I had lost.

I wore the gold one in 2012 in the midst of a bout of depression caused by the inevitable age of change. I was post-college and pre self-assurance. People were leaving. I came home and looked at my space and felt haunted by rooms and walls that were not my own. Sometimes, I woke up in the middle of the night in a state of panic.

But the harnesses showed me who I could be: sensual and aggressive and strong. Because it was at risk of falling apart due to too much push or pull, I had to reacquaint myself with my limbs. I wasn’t changing myself so much as finding new methods of moving. I will not cower from this piece. I will love it. And I will love myself in it. And later, I will not cower from myself. I will love myself and everything I encompass. 

Anonymous asked: i don't say this enough but you've done so much for me and other black girls and i admire you and support you 100% in your journey. please keep being the brilliant and charming person you are. please never give up on your dreams and please don't limit yourself for small minds who aren't half as smart or half as compassionate as you. - love, an internet friend

I think I know who wrote this, but thank you. <3 I truly appreciate it.

prolinebeats asked: what made you decide to star bloggin'?

A desire to cultivate a world that didn’t exist in my everyday. 

“Look, I’ve been through so much terrible shit. Shit that other people can’t imagine. Shit that will break a woman down. And yet, you know what? I still have hope. Cause here’s the thing: There are good folks out there, and some of them will want you in their life. They will love, cherish, and respect you. Their love might not be perfect, but it will be better than this, and I want you to have it. It’s yours.”

Last year, when I spent an evening basically shadowing Ryan Hemsworth for the feature I wrote for The FADER, I got a chance to talk to Cyril Hahn who was also on tour with Hemsworth. Hahn’s personality and worth ethic were so interesting to me, a stark contrast to Hemsworth. It’s not that one was better than the other, but they both created from such singular visions.

Hahn was much quieter, but still captivating and I think that comes out with his original compositions. At the time, he was finally getting recognition for his solo work and not his remix efforts. I think his latest release, the Voices EP, will finally make it clear to those still wondering who he is that his vision is clear, compelling and devastatingly sexy. The synths are clear and precise. The vocalists have a purity of sound that makes you take notice instantly. As a whole, it is a well-thought out and lovely work. 

"OctaHate" by Ryn Weaver

I am two months late to this one, but what a pop song, right? It reminds me of a mix of country-pop with that early aughts “alternative-to-Britney”vein of pop that was supposed to sound rebellious, but was as sugary-sweet in its production and hooks as the more showy gems. I only just heard this a couple of days ago and I’ve already got those verses memorized. That’s the sign of a great track. 

For Celebrities, Goodwill Can Flow Both Ways -

Can’t believe this happened. I celebrated with pizza and champagne last night (as one does). Here’s my New York Times debut for “Room for Debate.” I wrote an opinion piece on celebrities and public acts of social activism.