“I’m done putting my faith in well-meaning surrogates. That’s not enough now, and it never really was.”
The women I kiss like to drink red wine, and I drink them in. I taste red wine and I move past it; my deliverance lies elsewhere.
“I decided to make lobster bisque for my mom at the same moment I decided to come out to her. Only one of those things went according to plan.”
“I couldn’t afford to go home, but it was common knowledge among the many international students that, technically, one could remain in the country beyond the visa validity period as long as you were still enrolled in school. So I did.”
“They were a union organizer and liked to throw themed parties (for example: Naked Brunch). One time I bought Gap jeans and they called me a capitalist pig dog. They were not wrong.”
Read these if you want to master the art of the essay.
“I thought changing something on the outside would change the wrecked ruin of me on the inside. I thought somehow the inside would get a memo from my outside and get into shape. It didn’t, but my hair is the first way I was able to gain autonomy over my body.”
Then I met Summer, a junior counselor at the Christian summer camp I went to between sixth and seventh grade. Summer wore a different band shirt almost every day: Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin. She told me she loved classic rock, and without hesitating, I said “me too.”
With every nude I take and share, I see my sexiness, my erotic power, with my own eyes. Sexy self-portraiture has allowed me to envision and realize myself as a sexual being.
Fitting into Los Angeles wasn’t going to happen for me. Or so I thought, until I stopped trying.
My dad’s motorcycle magazines weren’t inherently pornographic; they were mostly actually about motorcycles. But beautiful, scantily clad women were pictured posing on them. And those women became an obsession.
The joke was that we had to have sex before the election, because if Donald Trump won, I never wanted to be touched again. It was a joke. A joke.
“Four-and-a-half minutes was all it took to throw me back into this huge river of feeling, and it was exhilarating and rewarding and made me feel light and warm in a place that had been cold and damp for a long time.”
If Alice Walker once said “hard times require furious dancing,” then hard times call for reading poetry, particularly black poets. Follow zaynab’s journey in reconnecting with black poetry as a means of daily survival and understand why reading the work of black poets can enhance our collective understandings of what it means to cultivate and sustain resistance.
“It was everything I had been looking for, only better, because it came along with smooching and cuddling and spanking.”
“I pushed and shoved and laughed and danced in big black shoes that would later bruise my feet, next to a girl who would later love me back.”
“Even if I didn’t think I was hurting her feelings, she’s telling me I was. So what is my end game with my current strategy – make her feel badly for bringing up an emotional issue that she’s uncomfortable with? Make her feel like dirt for being honest with her own feelings?”
A cautionary tale.
I like to think I can control my anger, but I usually end up burning my own life down instead.
A love letter to the only woman that stole my heart and snatched my scalp at the same damn time.