All posts by Terrel

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

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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

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.

Colored

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

Just Like Your Friends: Terrel in conversation with Bryan Patrick

This week we’re back in conversation with another of the bloggers on this site, Bryan Patrick. Two weeks ago, Bryan Patrick came out as queer on the site and we have a great conversation about the development of that post and the aftermath of such a personal revelation:

T: Well, it’s part interview, part discussion so we will talk about things we have in common, I definitely want to hear a bit about before during and after releasing your first post which I purposely (read accidentally) scheduled for national coming out day.

BP: okay! So yeah, where should we start? I can talk about sorta how I came to realize I was queer or like my “queer role models” you being one of them or the reaction I got afterwards. I got thoughts on all of em. Continue reading Just Like Your Friends: Terrel in conversation with Bryan Patrick

A Manifesto

There is no beauty for beauty’s sake

Beauty can be found in every thing on this earth, however beauty must not be worshiped for its own sake.

Books hold knowledge beyond what we can encounter through happenstance

Reading books expands your mind and aids in the development of empathy. Read books which contribute to your growth rather than simply entertain you. Continue reading A Manifesto