A Letter to Me in Adolescence

Dear 12 year old me,

I saw you a few months back. I saw you in a little brown boy with energy, style and charisma.  He’s older than you, more assured than you, but he reminded me of you nonetheless. He found his home in the theater, a place you eventually made your refuge. While his idols are different than yours (he hopes to follow in the footsteps of Kim Kardashian), his spirit is akin to your own.

Unfortunately, it’s not the energy, light, or joy that reminds me of you, it’s the longing for belonging that reminds me of your trials and tribulations. When I asked him why he looked so upset in a group of assumed friends, he said he had no friends there, unable to relate his experiences to theirs. In this moment I saw you; well your future. At 12, you’re just beginning to break through the veil; beginning to pierce a fog of insecurity and morality that would have you repress what you’ve known all along, with some assurance at age 5. Continue reading A Letter to Me in Adolescence


New Year, Better Me

While most people are appalled at the thought of a new years’ resolution, I have tasked myself with the same goal for the past two years. I have told myself every year since 2015 that I will be the most me in the coming year. What this task means is that I take the time at the end of the year to really check in with myself: was I as true to myself as I could be? Each year the answer is honestly no, so why do I keep tasking myself with this impossible goal? In reality, the idea of being the most me is a moving target, which makes it the perfect goal. Being the most me at any given moment can mean a myriad of things. One year being the most me was all about conquering grad school, finding a deeper self-confidence and being kinder to myself. Since I’ve graduated grad school, I’ll have to find a new set of rulers to measure myself against.

The artificial end of a year, a man made closing of the chapter is a great time look at yourself and check in. Are you actually being honest with your wants, needs and desires? I did a lot of growing this year, and it’s that growth that inspires me to continue working toward a greater version of myself. I see the potential within myself to do more, strive to be better and be shine brighter than ever before. There have been times in the last few months where I couldn’t leave the bed. There were times in the last few months were I doubted the development I’ve gone through this year. However, I have to remind myself of my personal accomplishments as a guide into greater achievement.

This year I discovered so much unnecessary insecurity as it relates to my abilities as an artist, my body and my intelligence. This isn’t an indictment of my self worth, but more of an acknowledgment of the room for improvement. I also made room to discover how much my own thoughts and actions have kept me from successful dating. While it is true there are many factors out of my control, a recent change in desire, attitude and approach has yielded interesting results (I’m sure I’ll write more about this in the future). Although all the time spent with myself at the end of the year has brought up a lot of my repressed fears and insecurities, it’s allowed me time to get real with myself about the work I’ve yet to do.

In recent years, we’re extremely hopeful for the coming year due to the increasingly terrible state of the world. I’m not sure we are as hopeful going into 2018, but I would encourage us all to find our center. I’m personally tired of being bombarded by people and things that do not bring me joy. In 2018 I want to actually be more selfish about my space and my time. I want to reclaim my body in 2018, which includes taking up space, wearing clothes that do not minimize or hide me. I want to be bold in my size and queerness. Being the most me means maximizing the kindnesses I owe myself and speaking softly to the voice in my head that would prevent me from walking into my greatness and presenting my truth to the world.

In 2018, I challenge all of you to take up the mantle so set before you, decide that you will be the most true to yourself in 2018. This can be as small as making time for more reading, or picking up an art practice. Whatever you do in 2018 to better yourself can only help you toward your overall goals.

Artist Statement

My process of making is like hip-hop: I sample my life, family and friends; I remix visual references from history, pop culture, and diasporic cultures; I rap about the different facets of identity and experience. In black vernacular “doing the most” means someone is behaving in a way exceeding what is necessary; as a maker I embody this. By obscuring text, invoking esoteric imagery, and working abstractly, I force the viewer to investigate and question my work, and hopefully their assumptions about identity politics. As such, presentation, representation and performance are critical sites of investigation. Continue reading Artist Statement

Guest Post: Modern Online Dating- A Reflection

When I think of dating, I think of horror stories I’ve either read about or heard from friends of either horrible Tinder dates, cringey conversations on OkCupid, and ridiculous and egotistical bios and profiles. I’ve dipped my toes in online dating a couple of times, but every time I do I ultimately delete the dating apps from my phone or deactivate my accounts on online dating sites, especially after being swarmed by some weird-ass messages only a few minutes in. Ah, the gloriousness that is modern online dating.

Growing up, I gathered an idea of what the dating environment, and being in relationships, could be like from the many TV shows and films I watched and grew fond of as a teenager. I never would have fathomed that the dating universe I would inherit would be what it is today. It’s become a fast-paced environment with the integration of quickly swiping left if you don’t like someone and right if you do solely based on the profile the person creates of themselves, or at least the self that they want to portray to others in order to attract people. Now, I’m aware that the experience is different for everyone, especially on platforms that are formatted differently than the swipe left or right format, but the dating realm has become a sort of bland shark tank for me, and it’s honestly really weird. Normally I’m pretty open to starting conversations on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. since the initial purpose of these platforms aren’t to help create a romantic relationship, but I was hesitant to send the first message on online dating platforms.

I had unrealistically high expectations that I would find the “perfect” person through a dating website that I would click with instantly, which put excessive pressure on myself to not only send the first message, but a first message that would make that other person like me right away and cause them to want to continue the conversation. Ridiculous, I know. I now realize that I put so much unnecessary labor into creating an ideal image of myself on online dating platforms when I really shouldn’t have given a single fuck about what cis men thought of me. I wanted to find someone so badly that I didn’t realize until I reflected back on that time that I wouldn’t have been able to if I continued to portray an image of myself that wasn’t truly me. Parts of me, both good and bad, have changed along with the modern online dating environment.

The way that online dating has morphed myself and other millennials, specifically in regards to interacting with others, has surprised me immensely. Writer Caroline Beaton claims in “How Possibility is Paralyzing Millennial Romance” that “by producing a surplus of options, online dating has ironically yielded romantic standstills,” and this seems to be absolutely true in my eyes. My mindset going into dating has changed partially because of the infinite amount options made available. Although it’s sometimes still surreal that online dating platforms have the capability to allow millions of people to connect from all over the world where one wouldn’t normally be able to in real life, there’s no doubt that with the increase of options comes the increase of pressure to fit into the physical and personality ideals that recent online dating and mainstream media encourages as a whole. I really don’t engage with online dating platforms as much as I used to, but when I was neck deep in it, I felt like I couldn’t compete a lot of the time, especially since these platforms are heavily focused on the physical and on first impressions being the ultimate deciding factor in whether people want to meet someone IRL or not. That, or I felt like I only attracted some odd folks. Around the same time that I decided to move past being so dependent on these platforms, I also learned how to better value myself and my time with others.

Ever since I chose to significantly lessen my time in the online dating universe, I’ve made it my goal to try and socialize more to not only try to get to know people from the ground up but to also train myself to keep up with the friendships I have. While doing this, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been putting more value in everyday human experiences and interactions, especially in regards to dating and it’s so ironic to me because of how little I socialized before, hence the prior dependency on online dating platforms. I now place significance and importance on intimate moments like meeting up with someone for coffee, going to see a new museum exhibit, or even just catching up after a run-in with someone at Target (a common trend for me). For me to want to cherish and not take advantage of human moments in a time where online dating has become the new norm to many has been so crucial for me and has become a clear sign of retraction from that portion of the internet that I used to be on so frequently. Going from a place within myself where I fed off of most any decent interaction I had with men online (if any) to someone who became confident enough to thrive and to find the pureness in human interactions away from any screen is something that has value a thousand times over the perfect online dating profile.

Be open. Be soft. Be squishy.

I have to be honest with myself: I have been using the Internet and social media as a crutch. The world is scary. No, I’m not talking about the impending nuclear assault, or the men finally being held accountable for their actions after years of inaction. No, I’m talking about interpersonal relationships. I’ve been avoiding connections with people in real life; preferring the distance facebook and instagram put between us. What I’m talking about the V word we try so hard to avoid: “vulnerability”. I have been trying to write this blog post for at leas two weeks now; every time I sit down to write I am scared about the truth I know inside my soul. I’m not walking the walk, and quite frankly, if I talk the talk, I’ll force myself to be accountable. Continue reading Be open. Be soft. Be squishy.

Straight Edged Consent

We’re at the point now where our feeds unfortunately full of reports of sexual violence of many varieties. It’s so often at this point that I’m sure many of your reactions have gone from full on shock to more of a “wow, who’s next?” and while I understand and somewhat share that sentiment, it’s mostly caused me to think of how I work to keep consent a priority in my relationship.

In addition to many other things, I’m straight edge. For those of you who may not know what that means, straight edge is most easily summarized as someone who does not drink alcohol/beer or smoke anything. In really strict forms of this lifestyle you also avoid casual sex but that’s a separate thing. Continue reading Straight Edged Consent


I have always had an interesting relationship to color and pattern, it’s almost impossible for me to think of one without the other; as someone who has always been interested in art and fashion this isn’t very shocking. I think the reason I love color so much is that it has so much power. As human beings, we love color. Our obsession with color has led to much advancement in the arenas of science, technology, apparel and beyond. One of the phenomena I’ve noticed is that people are intimidated by color in their wardrobe more often than not. I’m not sure if the fear comes from not being able to mix and match color, or if people genuinely dislike color. I personally have been trying to add more color, exploring complex color and pattern combinations in my own wardrobe however the affinity for black, navy, brown and grey within our culture has made it hard for my plus sized body to find the interesting garments I crave. Continue reading Colored