Why Are You So Quiet?

My best friend in high school ended our friendship in a letter. She was a year older and in her first year of college in a different city. In the letter she listed a number of issues she had with me. Of all the words she wrote me in that two-paged front-and-back handwritten missive, I vividly remember reading: “And you’re too quiet sometimes! It’s like: talk!” The words struck me with as much force as if she’d come back to town just to punch me in my stomach.

That Time I Almost Accidentally Joined a Cult

All the chatter about the HBO documentary on the Church of Scientology, Going Clear, got me thinking about my own experiences with a similar church I’ll call the Church of OddPhilosophies. Because I would never say anything bad about the Church of Scientology.

I was once on the run from the Church of OddPhilosophies.

Ok, so things weren’t as dramatic as that, but there did exist a time when I had to avoid the COO.

Picture it: the early ’00s, Los Angeles, California. A city of towering palm trees, near constant sunshine, and an overabundance of injectable-filled faces. A twenty-something woman full of youthful energy and naiveté dreams of a brilliant acting career.

When You Agree to Discuss Racism on the Radio with a Black Conservative

That was around the time Jesse asked me, “What else can white people do for black people, so that black people will finally say: ‘ok you’re not racist, you love me, you’ve given us allllll that we’ve wanted, and we appreciate it, so now we’re going to take control of our own lives’? Is there anything else that white people can do to satisfy black people?”

Alleys and Alleys of Murals in San Francisco

Like many cities in the US, San Francisco is experiencing a wave of gentrification that is welcomed by some residents and the subject of much derision for others. Often central to the debate is the Mission District, an eclectic enclave whose formerly large working- and middle-class Latino population moves further south as the gentrifiers roll in by the dozens: well-paid, largely young, white, male, and employed by tech companies. Their presence brings higher rents, priced-out renters, long waits and lines at a growing number of trendy restaurants and cafes, and a fear of cultural and historical erasure.

No, I’m Not a Mommy

In the past 6 months I’ve received various inquiries into the state of my womb, specifically about the fact that it’s empty.

When visiting my mom* on the East Coast recently, I reconnected with an aunt whom I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I warmed to her immediately; her personality fills a room.

[*I have two moms through a remarriage (dad’s) – one on the East Coast, one in Texas (with dad).]

After exchanging pleasantries and hugs, my aunt said,

“Keisha, you don’t want no husband or children?” It didn’t seem so much a question, but more of a statement of fact. The implication being that if I hadn’t done it by now, I’m not going to.

I Am Sick of Having Conversations About Race with Brick Walls

I was in a pissy mood on Friday afternoon.

I’ve written before how I get sick of talking about racism. I just want to live my life. Wake up, do what I do and keep it moving like many other people have the privilege of doing each day. I do not have such privilege, however. Just going to the corner drugstore some days ends with me wondering when the day will come when I won’t have a clerk unsubtly follow me around the store as I shop.

Take That, Mrs. No-Target

Years ago, I volunteered on the entertainment sub-committee for my job’s annual summer party. One of my tasks involved coming up with giveaway prize ideas: a few high-value “grand” prizes, and enough door prizes so that almost everyone left a winner.

Before purchasing the prizes, my committee shared our ideas with the larger planning group. The list included gift cards from Target as a few of the door prizes.

One of the alcohol sub-committee members wrinkled her face at the mention of Target.

If There’s No Such Thing As Writer’s Block, Why Can’t I Write?

I’ve struggled with a major case of writer’s block for several months now. Whatever past invisible force moved me to put fingers to keypad appears to have gone on a vacation. In my quest to bring it back from the beach or whatever safari it’s on, I’ve read several posts by other bloggers and writers who struggle with the same blockage. More than a few are adamant that there’s “no such thing as writer’s block.”

If that’s the case, then why is it that each post I crank out lately seems to take me eons to produce? Sometimes I’ll write one sentence, proclaim it “garbage” or not something I can create a post around and there it sits, another unfinished draft.

The One Who Got Away?

I met a guy at summer camp during the break between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. His name – I won’t tell you – but, I’ll say that he’s named after an American city. Ok, fine, let’s call him Trenton, just because. I even remember his last name, which isn’t a common one. I couldn’t tell you the name of my first grade teacher, but I remember his name.

Don’t Be That Insensitive Jackhole

On Sunday, after the Academy Awards, Giuliana Rancic, co-host of E!’s Fashion Police, made a contentious statement in reference to the locs worn at the ceremony by 18-year old actress Zendaya.

In a previous post, I touched on the complicated relationship many black women have with their hair.

I Can’t Eat All of That!

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The server threw me a questioning look as he observed my half-full plate.

“Was everything okay with your meal, miss?”

“Yes, it’s fine. I’ll just take a box please.”

“Oh, you can eat more than that! You barely touched it!”

I glanced down at my plate, then my stomach. I’d stuffed all that would fit in the compartment.

“Hahaha, no really you can take it,” I said, pushing the plate further away from me.

Essential Blogging Resource Guide

Whether you want to blog for fun or hope to make a living from it, getting started can be overwhelming.

Perhaps you’re not even sure where to begin. Or maybe you’ve had a blog for a while, but want to propel it to the next level.

I had little idea what I was doing when I started blogging over 2 years ago (longer if you count LiveJournal; remember when that was big?). I’ve learned a lot from running this blog and even more since I transitioned to blogging for income last fall.

In this guide, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most helpful resources to make your blogging adventures less daunting and more effective.

The Incredible Story I Heard About My Ancestors

Lately, my dad is prone to falling into reflective reveries during which he shares stories from the past with a forthrightness that is surprising given how miserly he’s been with details previously. He’ll affect what my sisters and I call his “Professor [Our last name]” voice and begin his oration: “You know, Keisha, our family…”

GoodBye Weave; Hello Curls!

The beauty shop has never been a place of relaxation or pleasure for me. I associate it with chemical smells, scalp burn, lots of time spent waiting around, listening to catty gossip about the lives of strangers, and hours of sitting in the same chair forced to make conversation with someone pulling my head, knowing that any personal details I share might become future salon fodder.

Once, a braider yanked my hair so hard she PULLED SOME OF MY HAIR OUT OF MY SCALP! It’s been years and that hair still hasn’t grown back right.

Four Days in Historic Warsaw

When the bellhop left the hotel room after depositing our luggage, I broke into a touchdown dance.

“This room!”

I dove onto the bed, a European double, spaced at least 3-feet away from a second bed. Larger beds and no tripping over luggage, boots and each other? Minimal upgrades that seemed positively luxe when compared to our accommodations in the past 15 days.