I’m 7 years old. My friend’s mother has just bought us matching dresses: one is yellow and the other is pink. I grab the yellow dress with two hands and big eyes because it looks like sunshine and it has pink flowers on the collar and it reminds me of summer. My friend’s mom wriggles the yellow dress from my hands and says, “You’re too yellow to wear yellow, Lauren. Wear this one,” and shoves the pink dress in my direction. I’m confused. I didn’t know that I was yellow, I thought that I was beige, like my mom had told me. My friend’s mom was nearly my skin color, so did that mean she couldn’t wear yellow either? I didn’t know that there were rules to this. I am heartbroken. I resign myself to the pink dress. I stop wearing yellow for sixteen years.
“How could he not love your hair? It’s the same hair that grows right out of his own armpits. The same hair that crawls up out of his crotch and on his stomach. All over his chest. The very same. It grows out of his nose, over his lips, and if he ever lost his razor, it would grow all over his face. It’s all over his head. It’s his hair, too. He gotta love it. How can he love himself and hate your hair?”
—Song of Solomon, T. Morrison
You should meet my dad
An artist not well known, but he paints with strokes that pastel across canvases as complex as the sky, feathering jewel tones in a technique so delicate it’s almost like the wind guides his brush—
He’s hilarious! A comedian, telling jokes that only an anteater would appreciate, about the length of a giraffes neck and centipedes that don’t quite measure up—I get it from him.
And he’s a great listener too, especially on days when my eyes brim with more tears than an entire ship’s crew could pail, enough sorrow knotting at the back of my throat, that I can’t even speak—he’ll still hear what I’m trying to say, offering advice that I used to dismiss, but now perk up just to hear his tone of his voice when he gives it…
When you meet a man who’s able to jumpstart your heart every morning with a shot of hormones so potent that your eyes bounce open as you jolt out of bed, it’s hard to be impressed at someone’s “heart skipping a beat”
When you meet a man who composes personal symphonies from the evening legs of crickets huddling in the corners of their orchestra pits and directs a chorale of cascading waves that lulls even the most restless souls to peace, it’s difficult to understand someone who can’t make time for you
When you meet a man who has held your heart, even as it pumped acid instead of blood, a time bomb leaking battery fluid all over the holes in his palms, asking him “will you still love me if I explode, will you still be here if I detonate, will still you hold me even if I self-destruct,” and the answer is always yes—when you meet a man like that, it’s impossible to feel special when someone just asks to hold your hand…
What can I say, I’m a daddy’s girl. And if there are three things I know, it’s that I could never do anything to make him stop loving me, that he would turn the world upside down to find me, and that if he had to die for me, again, he’d breathe his last breath with my name on his lips, a curled smile forming on his mouth as he pictures my face beaming up at him, because he loves me that much
Just musing over my life over the last few months. I think we let who we were previously intimidate who we are presently. I realized that I’ve had this image of myself that I think other people have too but now I realize that I’m wrong. I’ve been carrying social baggage–good and bad–from college and it’s really affected how I see myself. Like I assume people I meet now know about who I was then and am judging based on that knowledge. But really all they have is what I tell them and who I choose to be today. If they want, they could find out a lot about who I was then through social media and whatnot but they never will really know who I was because they didn’t know me then. All they have to make sense of who I am today and where I’ve come from is what I tell them. People assume you are much better and capable than you do. I don’t feel really accomplished at all but people will randomly validate something as a success when I thought it was a total, obvious, and embarrassing failure. So we are who we choose to be, and when it’s all said and done, everyone feels like they’re failing at something, doubts themselves, and compares themselves to others at some point. But we are our harshest critics really. Don’t feel down about your life. You’re where you are for a reason, so remember to live like it.