Intro

Being Un-edited Is Scary As Hell, But Here Goes…

In an art course I took in college, my professor began the day by informally quizzing the class about the previous week’s discussion.  A student I’d recently met chatted with me before the unofficial test began.  When the professor posed a question to the class that I’d confidently answered to my new acquaintance a few seconds prior, she casually turned to me and nudged me in a soft voice, saying, “And that’s where you come in.”  Um…well. Not really.

I knew the answer, but that didn’t mean I was prepared to say it out loud, allowing the entire class a chance to turn and gawk at me. What if my response was wrong? What if I stumbled over my words? What if my voice quivered? What if, what if, what if? Amidst all these variables, I knew one thing was certain—I was not answering that question. Sitting in silence worked just fine for me thankyouverymuch, and the up close and personal spotlight that would temporarily shine on me (and my response) was absolutely not welcomed. A couple of awkward moments passed until someone who was confident and vocal gave a correct answer and averted my classmate’s confused, glaring eye away from me.

As much as it sucks to admit, treating my voice as an active entity instead of a paralyzed bystander still basically describes the way I operate to this day. In my writing and many of my social interactions, I’m still that unassertive college kid who has something meaningful to say but refuses to verbalize it out of insecurity, fear, and an endless list of other irrational reasons. The worst realization is that I’m a hypocrite who exhibits more compassion for others than I do for myself, specifically when I advise close friends and relatives to let their opinions venture freely while I routinely censor my own.

Enter Un-edited. This platform represents a scary new phase in which I speak freely, unfiltered and uninhibited, avoiding the temptation to drown my words with questions and insecurities that only serve to distract me from my purpose.

So, here’s my first Un-edited statement: I am a voice in this world and dammit, I deserve to be heard. OK, I’m busted. That line was inspired by way too many binge-watching sessions of A Different World on Netflix, plus a couple of glasses of 20 Grand’s vodka and rosé drink (more on that later).

Still, it’s a fitting visionary summation of what my Un-edited partner Andrea and I hope to achieve with the words we publish in this space. I, along with the stifled voices of women everywhere, deserve to be heard and my wish is that through Un-edited, the blockages that stand defiantly between my feelings and my pen dissolve and make way for a black woman who no longer quivers at the idea of sharing her innermost thoughts with the world.

 

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Just Another Black Girl Trying To Be Free

I just don’t give an eff.

That has been my silent mantra and daily affirmation for the past five to seven years of my life when I have given the most effs. My use of “eff” in lieu of fuck is a pretty clear indication that despite my once daily affirmation, I still give an eff. I’m less benevolent in the effs I have to give, but I’m still generous with the remaining few.

On paper I am raw—unedited, unabashed and largely unashamed. I’m like the ghostwriter for your favorite MC: I write venomous ish with all the braggadocio of a miniature pinscher, or again, your favorite MC. In person, I’m mostly an introvert editing my words and image, working diligently to fit a square inside of a circle, appropriating common pleasantries and using them to become a part of the norm; or worse, too uncensored, too much of myself for fear of appearing inauthentic.

Un-edited is me reconciling who I am with who I’ve become with who I want to be—free. Free to remember history.  Her-story.   Free to tell the story exactly how it is and how it was, not as it’s been written or how it’s been told. Free from the prison of my mind that shackles my feelings, esteem and the unbridled truth. Free from the prison that awaits black girls embodied with the spirit of intelligence, indignation, and the omnipresent spirits of the many free black girls who have come before her and will come after her. Free to be wild-haired, braless, makeup-less…just less so that we might become more.

Kenya, my literary crush and one half of Un-edited, and I welcome you on the journey to becoming unedited and unloosed. Your comments, your cheers, your understanding, your misunderstanding, your story, your journey is solicited.

Let us be free. It’s a demand. Not a question.

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