5 Imaginary Obstacles I Conquer Every Time I Write

7 Aug

WRITERWhenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them, “A writer.” It’s always what I’ve wanted to do, and I’ve never drifted far from that path. And though I truly enjoy it, I often have a difficult time sitting down and actually writing. Since I’m not working on staff for a publication, there’s no one breathing down my neck about deadlines or feeding me any new ideas—it’s something I have to bring myself to do on my own. Yet, there are countless obstacles I notice many writers face whenever they sit down to write.

Here are my top 5:

1. Uninspired Procrastination Mode
If I’m not inspired, then I’ll do it later—I tell myself in order get out of writing. The thing is—if I’m waiting for inspiration, I may be waiting a long while—weeks maybe. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and write a few sentences. The rest will come if I sit long enough. Sometimes it won’t- but I might get some good ideas brainstorming.

2. The “Never Good Enough” Fear
My writing professor told the class the most depressing thing for a writer to hear: “All the good stories have already been written.” I often worry he was right. I worry that I won’t be able to say anything better than what my Black feminist predecessors and my favorite fiction writers have already said. I worry that my writing is just “okay,” but not great. But I have to snap out of these worries—otherwise I’ll never get passed the first word on my grad school application essays and I’ll never write that awesome book I plan to write one day.

3. Feeling like a fake
Sometimes I feel like not a real writer. I’m not published in BigNamePublication, I don’t have any books out, and strangers don’t recognize the name of my blog—so I’m not legit. Then I really start to beat myself up: I’ll never be Toni Morrison or even as good as some of my favorite bloggers. But I have to remind myself that even Toni Morrison started somewhere with a pen, paper and dreams similar to my own.

4. Starving Artist Doom
We all have it—those of us who dream of making a career out of writing. We fear that our work will never take off and we’ll end up living on a street corner near the potheads and on Venice Beach, or worst—stuck in a job we hate because writing didn’t pay the bills. The fear of failure is the worst and the most difficult obstacle I struggle with.

5. “I Don’t Need It” Syndrome
I didn’t get any of the writing positions I applied for out of college. Instead, I landed a position at a PR firm, which pays well for my first job out of college. Before I was hired, my only income came from freelance writing. I literally needed to publish articles in order to have funds (Thankfully, my mother didn’t kick me out so I had food and shelter). Now that I no longer financially need to publish—I don’t do it as often. I have a comfortable fallback. But the truth is—I do need it. I’ve always needed it. No other job could ever fully satisfy my inner desire to write. Writing is how I make sense of the world, how I process my thoughts, and eventually- how I’ll become more successful. Writing is my passion—and I cannot let imaginary obstacles get in the way.

Fellow writers: Am I missing anything major? What obstacles do you face when you sit down to write?

Writers note: This post was inspired by the article 5 Invisible Obstacles I Conquer Every Time Run

Wanting to be a Big Booty Hoe (#TBT)

31 Jul

2chainz-birthday-songSexy is a Lifestyle

In high school, my nickname was “Feed the Children,” because my friends joked that I was skinny enough to be in Feed the Children’s campaigns about malnourished children in third world countries (Clearly my friends weren’t very PC).

I was somewhat insecure about my thin frame because I had internalized something that I’d learned from listening to hip hop and the guys at school: girls with curves and big booties were sexy—bony little “Feed the Children,” was not.

So I always wanted to be thicker. Three years later, while studying overseas in Argentina, where my diet consisted mostly of pasta and cheese, I gained some weight and grew what became my pride and joy: my ass. Coming home from Buenos Aires with a little curve in what I believed was all the right places gave me a synthetic confidence.

Imagine my disappointment one day when I turned to the side in the mirror only to find that my booty had shrunk, and for a little while, so had my confidence.

As women, many of us are all taught at young ages —either from our parents, magazines, music, or the world around us—that part of our duty is to be pleasing to the eye. Scholars Sheila Lintott and Sherri Irvin explain in “Sex Objects and Sexy Subjects: A Feminist Reclamation of Sexiness,” women are socialized to believe that being sexy is essential to their value as human beings, and that only certain looks are defined as sexy. When someone fails to adhere to those narrow standards of sexy she may be viewed as less of a woman.

That is how I felt when I looked in the mirror and saw my lack of curves: I was less sexy; I was less of a woman.

Many of us have those times where we judge ourselves according to someone else’s definition of sexy. In doing so, we progress this idea that sexy means fitting into a very small box (more like a very small prison).

We are often taught that we are too skinny, too big, or too dark. We have too much of this and not enough of that. Most women do not fit the dominant idea of sexy.

However, many people go to great lengths to try to fit into that prison. We spend hundreds of dollars on our hair and makeup, constantly change our diets, wear the highest, most uncomfortable heels, experience a lot of pain (sometimes at the hands of beauticians, stylists, or plastic surgeons), and in the process, we deny and reject our real selves.

There’s a difference between the synthetic confidence I attained when I first noticed my weight gain and the real confidence I got from defining sexy on my own terms. Sometimes I have to remember that sexy isn’t something I can buy in a bottle at Sephora for $45. Nor is it my favorite pair of heels that make my legs look longer. Sexy is a fusion of confidence and compassion. It is a decision to live on my own terms (not according to anyone else’s expectations). Sexy is a lifestyle.

 

P.S. This is a throwback post from last year. I’ll do a throwback post once or twice a month for my newer audience. Enjoy :)

7 Things That Happen When You’re the Only Black Person at Work

24 Jul
First job out of college and I’m the only black person in the office. It’s been interesting, to say the least.  Here are some of the funny and offensive moments I’m sure a lot of us solo black folks have experienced:
1. When you forget to code-switch your language at work.
GIF Oops
2. When your hair becomes a frequent topic of discussion. 
GIF hair
3. When you want to turn down your music in the office parking lot but this Kendrick song is EVERYTHING! GIF Car dance
4. When you’re at a loss for words because your white boss rolled his neck and snapped his fingers in an attempt to act out an “angry black woman.”
GIF 8
GIF Lord
5. When you don’t want to be a stereotype but you’re like “fuck it” and heat up your chicken in the office microwave anyways.
GIF oh well chicken
6. If your parents were a little creative with your name, people feel the need to ask and comment on it.
GIF So 2
7. When you frequently encounter microagressions at work and don’t quite know how to word your response.
GIF 9
Hey Y’all. really need your advice. At work, I’ve had to deal with some semi-racist (aka just plain racist) jokes that aren’t funny.
The thing is–there used to be one black woman in the office before I got there. Given the openly racist things that happen, I don’t think she said much about it. But I cannot be that person. I cannot let this go on while I’m at work and it certainly cannot continue after I’m gone. Then the next black person that comes along is going to have to deal with the same shit and will be stuck in this same awkwardness.
Some folks need to be told up front that what they’re doing is NOT okay. However, given the very casual, always-joking climate of the office, I’ve found it difficult to switch gears to a more serious tone and voice my opinion.
It’s easy to be outspoken with my keyboard, but in person I am sometimes more shy and reserved. I’m new to this office and don’t want to create any tension or drama, but I have to do something about it because it feels wrong not to. I can’t be that person who talks tough on the internet and becomes spineless in person.
How should I handle this?
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