All posts filed under: Reflect

On life, events external and internal

On abstinence from alcohol

My journey to 30 has evolved into this very big project of personal goals. But it started with my decision to give up drinking alcohol for a year. How exactly does one who lives in a place like New Orleans, where the drinks flow freely, where you can take it in a ‘go-cup’, where there’s really no need to wait for 5 o’clock, come to the conclusion to completely abstain for an entire year?  Well, it all started with a juice cleanse that left me with an inordinate amount of time to think. Apparently, when I’m food deprived I get even more introspective than I already am. By day 2 of this juice cleanse I was realizing how much more time I had in my day since I didn’t have to think about shopping for meals, preparing meals, eating meals, cleaning meals, and how after awhile I wasn’t even hungry any more. I wondered what kind of time I would have, what kind of mind-shift was possible, if I quit drinking. I wondered if I’d …

Book 4: Selected Poems–Gwendolyn Brooks

I don’t read much poetry. I don’t really read any poetry the way I did in my AP Lit class senior year of high school. It’s unfortunate, because there’s so much great poetry out there. But it’s also not surprising, because poetry can be difficult to read. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize, and on the back of this book of collected poetry is this quote: “She is a very good poet, the only superlative I dare use in our time of misusage; compared not to other Negro poets or other women poets but to the best of modern poets, she ranks high.” In reading this collection, I learned two things:  Gwendolyn Brooks has a vocabulary that far exceeds mine. I spent many of these pages looking up words in the dictionary hoping it would help me better understand what she was saying. Sometimes it made all the difference; other times, I finished a poem and still had no clue. Maybe context would’ve helped, a teacher who knows the time period …

The Lost Art of Writing

Remember when we used to write to each other with a pen on a piece of paper? We wrote notes and letters in our everyday communication, we sent cards for every occasion with personalized messages in addition to whatever was pre-printed, and we actually wrote out thank you cards? Everything is electronic now, the art of writing has faded from the practice of just about every age group, save for those older generations that never got swept up in the tech world. For kids, it’s especially tragic, because they don’t even have ability to say, ‘Hey! remember when we used to pass notes on sheets of loose leaf paper that had doodles and some of our notes from whatever class we were supposed to be paying attention in?’ Today it’s all rapid fire text messages from phones not so discreetly hidden underneath their desks, in between their knees, held with one hand, while they pretend not to be looking down in their laps. And the content of those texts are strings of three letter abbreviations, …

Letting Go of “I’ll Show You!”

Being an overachiever often means an inescapable feeling of inadequacy. Couple that with being a Black woman in the US, and you’ve got a recipe for pathologically setting unrealistically high expectations followed by harsh self-criticism when you inevitably don’t meet those expectations. As a kid, being an overachiever usually meant reaching a predetermined goal that everyone insists is the most important thing to focus on: get a high GPA, get a grade level ahead in certain subjects, get high scores on the state test, get involved in extracurricular activities and become the leader of at least one of them…I could go on. And the way to achieve those goals were straightforward: you read this book, memorize those facts, learn that equation, conjugate that verb, study for that test, etc. etc. There was no mystery, one step followed the next. There was pretty much only one path forward. Is this a gross oversimplification? Sure, but for me, this was as uncomplicated as it got. Do ABC and get XYZ. But, the feelings of inadequacy always came, because …

Remember Me?

Today a professor I’ve taken three graduate school courses with, who was my advisor for a year, and whose research I worked on for a bit, didn’t see me as I waved at him from down the hall, as I made not one but two verbal attempts to say ‘hello’ and congratulate him on his upcoming retirement, well within his visual range and earshot. The classmate I was walking with, who witnessed the snub/oversight/whatever, remarked at how fucked up that was. Two of the three classes I took with him had no more than ten people in them. I was the only black girl in all three. I even won an in-class competition on who could clean a data set the best (nerdy, I know); I was the dark horse in the class, literally and figuratively. I guess I should’ve known better. That a professor who discouraged me from even registering for the first class I took with him on the presumption of my lack of ability to do advanced data analysis, could forget me just as quickly as he …