The word memoir, used to sound like the most boring thing ever when I was younger. I stayed away from those types of stories. But within the last year I’ve read more of them and it has grown into one of my favorite type of narratives. I think there’s something so inspirational about reading someone’s story (dead or alive) and learning how they navigated life. Life is full of ups and downs and we don’t have an instruction manual for it. Sometimes we all get confused about our place in it or if we will ever achieve our goals, but when you read how others navigated their lives and see that their situations were no different from yours it gives you a sense of hope and sometimes may even inspire you to take risks and go after dreams. I am one of those people who google the age of celebrities that I admire to compare where they were at my age. I know this is an odd thing to do, but I do it, to make sure I am on the right track. Most times I realize that I am, but there’s always that extraordinary person who’s killing it in their teens or twenties. For me, some of the key elements of really good memoirs are:
- Transparency: I love memoirs where the author is transparent about their life and their mistakes. No one wants to read a memoir that they can’t relate to.
- Started from the bottom: I love memoirs that take you on the journey of life staring from the beginning. Society and social media tend to show you what success looks like without showing what it took to get there. I like when authors take you on the journey from the bottom up and not just the “up”.
- Evolution or Growth: As humans we are constantly evolving and growing. I love memoirs that shows a person’s growth. If you are the same way at the beginning of the story that you were at the end, something is wrong. Life should always push you to be better, greater, stronger. We are constantly learning and evolving and I love memoirs that illustrate that.
Some of the memoirs that I read recently have all three of these characteristics:
Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcom X
Assata An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
The Education of Kevin Powell by Kevin Powell
My Voice by Angie Martinez
A memoir that I am looking forward to reading this year is: Foxy: My Life in Three Acts by Pam Grier. I absolutely love her and I know she has a powerful life story.
What are your favorite memoirs?
This year at Dance Africa, I found so many great things I want to share with you guys. As you know, Dance Africa is an annual event that happens every memorial weekend at BAM where Brooklyn locals celebrate Africa in all its glory through performances, amazing food and vendors. This year I bought so much cool stuff that I’m so excited about:
Tribal Print Dress
Besides the beautiful tribal print, what I love about this dress is the pockets and the racer back. It’s such a well made dress and I never want to take it off. Price: $20
I’ve wanted Fulani earrings since 2011. Finally I found these rare finds from the country of Mali and put them on as soon as I bought them. They’re a dream come true. Price: $20
Shea Butter & Black Soap
These two necessities speak for itself. I haven’t used Shea Butter in my hair since 2014, so this is a real treat and my hair loves it. As for the black soap, I am hoping it performs miracles on my dark spots. ($3-$5)
Rejection. I hate it. I can’t deal with it and I know it’s one of my biggest deterrents in life. So recently when I got rejected by something, I decided to partake in activities during my pity party which included making a list of all the times I was rejected starting from when I was 10-years old. It was so ridiculous. (Sometimes being a blogger sucks because I have to reveal things about myself that are borderline embarrassing). Nevertheless, although I wanted this activity to bring more grief to my already forsaken mood, it actually brought on a revelation that I’d never even considered before that moment.
Revelation: Each time I was rejected, something better, greater, more fit for me came out of it and the moral of the story is…I turned out okay.
When I was 10-years old, I was rejected by Prep for Prep, which is a program for underprivileged students to attend private school. I thought it would make me look like I was not smart, but in reality I turned out fine and I excelled in public school.
When I was applying to college, I was rejected by my dream school Spelman. I thought it was the end of the world, but I enjoyed my wacky time at Penn State and met some of my best friends.
When I graduated, I couldn’t find a job for the life of me. It was so bad, I was rejected by the clothing store Uniqlo. Eventually, I found an excellent job and it’s been an amazing ride.
Throughout life, I’ve been rejected. Whether it was from boys, schools, or professional/social groups. I know essentially the rejection felt like failure, but putting things into perspective, it needed to happen to make way for something better to come into my life.
If you’re feeling defeated by rejection, I can only hope that you will not let it limit you. Put things into perspective and consider that maybe something way better is on the way into your life.
There is something about summers in New York. I can’t explain the feeling but it’s just liberating. Each year, there has been some kind of life lesson or personal growth that took place in my life during the summer months. I am inspired to become a better version of me for the latter part of the year and give life my best foot forward. One of the things I enjoy doing and have been doing every year since I graduated is create a list of things that I want to do over the summer. It could be something dealing with the arts, maybe a new exhibit, possibly write more, wear my hair natural, whatever it might be I always try to hold myself accountable for my goals.
When I first graduated from Penn State in 2011, I was lost. I didn’t have the slightest clue where I was going to work in the fall, I had no money and no insight into my future, but those things did not take the fun out of my life. I was shockingly content with finding myself. I let go and let God take control and I allowed myself to live a little. Just getting out of a bad pseudo-relationship, I spent the summer rebuilding my self-esteem, writing, and on youtube learning everything there was to know about the big chop and being natural(It would take 2-years before I actually wore my hair natural). I even started an earrings business.
Continue reading “Summer Summer Summer Time!”