we made a magazine.

this is the product of a summer photography project and an autumn internship. find what you love to do, propose it to the people who can support you, and breathe it into existence. introducing majesty, a magazine created by, for, and about women of color,
created under the standard that Royalty is not elected. i don't know what else to say, so this is your cue to take a look. 
remember to always be busy for a reason. then, for the big reveal, stun them. i love y'all. 

-kiss kiss kiss, flood me where i sit-


i didn't feel it, but i feel now.

these are my last 10 minutes being a teen and i know nothing's going to change, but my stomach says otherwise. i'm sitting in my bed rounding up the last few things i will have with me from my teen years. i think my mom was the last person who saw me. i think ella fitzgerald was the last thing i listened to on my computer. i think solange or jennifer hudson was the last thing i sang.

i know it's inevitable, i know the warranty on your body is only 25 years, i know most first-world millennials are subject to adopting the term "adulting" as they wander beyond the bounds of whatever this is, and i knew it would happen to me, i just didn't think it would happen to me.

19 has been a year, i guess. most great things about it existed in moments and i and a few other people were there for all of the moments in between. some of it was necessary and a lot of it was not. i got some of the most important people in my life out of it, and i'm leaving some of the most important people in my life behind. and i don't know how to feel about that. mom asked me what i was going to say goodbye to in these last few minutes. "are we out of the era of mixed feelings?"it's i said no. to be honest, everything is weird and nothing is grounded and i don't know what i'm going to do. i realize now that confusion isn't a 6-year-long itch. and neither is an abundance of hurt. no matter how hard i try to leave those things behind, they will always try to latch onto me. i am not sure yet what i'm going to do about that.

this is the last 10 seconds. i'm scared. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. this is it. i skipped a breath. my heart beat but i just sat there. i'm 20, this is 20. i didn't feel like i was 19 for awhile, but now, it's actually changed. i feel warm in my torso, under my heart and through my stomach and my spine. i think this is the first time i've actually felt different on my birthday. maybe this means something. maybe. i don't know.

i'm sitting in my bed rounding up the first few things i will have with me from my adult years. you are the first person i've spoken to. there is Christmas music playing in my sister's room.

now, i just need to pick the first song i will sing.

{pea ess: i know, it's been a long time. i don't know how much longer it will be. but know this, i love you. and i have never stopped.}


the high cost of psyching yourself out.

i think i became afraid of hard work once i decided it wasn't worth it anymore.

the only real tradition we have in our house is that every four years, when the summer olympics come on, we make queso and buy a bunch of sweets and clear our calendars because we're going to watch it. 

i know what i'm supposed to write about, i just don't want to say it. 

when i was a year-round swimmer, our coach would give us goal sheets to fill out. they were grey and our team logo was a yellowish-goldish colour. that might've been on the printer. anyway, we had to put our short-term goals and our long-term goals on it. i don't remember if we had to put our names on it or not, or if we had to keep a copy for ourselves and give one to our coach. mine said "i want to be the first black woman to win gold and break the world record in the 50 free." i don't know the integrity of that goal, if i would've been the first black woman, i never did my research. but i wanted to be an olympian. i wanted to have my water slap of victory, i wanted everyone to say my name, i wanted to represent the people who looked like me, i wanted to stand on the podium and cry and go pro and get interviewed and be spoken highly of then i quit. and to be honest, i saw the goal, i wanted to see the end result, but i didn't see myself getting there. and that's all i have to say about it. 

here an anecdote that may or may not be useful: state championships, short course. we drove four hours, stayed in a nice hotel. on the 200 free relay, my goggles came off in the water and i DQ'd my team. missed the flip turn. i was mortified, and i didn't do well at the rest of the meet. i didn't want to. state championships, long course. same relay, i was terrified. dove in, goggles stayed on, i did really really well. my coach was proud of me, and i wasn't scared anymore. it was the starting point of a whole new level of training and i knew i would have to start picking it up. but i didn't see it. i wasn't feeling it. i hit the threshold, and i stepped back and let the others go downhill. 

i have dreams about swimming often. about going back to practice, about getting in the pool. and i always get anxious. i wake up scared, then i relax because i know it's not real. but when i'm stressed, when i have some bad energy i want to get out, i turn to the pool. so i don't know what that's about. is it in my blood? is not drowning part of my DNA now? it's been happening more often lately. dreams about sitting on the edge, of diving in, of going hard, of going back. 

and now the olympics are on, and we're watching them all together. and we know someone who made it in swimming. and she's doing the races i would've done. if i stayed on track and crossed the thresholds, i would've been in rio right now, i think. and knowing that, and being at home instead, is disappointing. because it was on me. anyway, the olympics is on tape delay. we're about to watch michael and ryan do the 200 im. everyone else knows how she did. one friend i know posted about it on facebook, sans spoilers, and it looks like she's done well. and let's be real. i'm f-ing terrified. i'm scared she's going to do what i wanted to do. seeing someone else achieve your goals pisses you off, it makes you cry a fever, lock yourself in your room and sit on your pile of clothes on the floor. i'm afraid she's going to do it. maybe not all of it, but enough of it. i should've been there. i should be there. i want to go there. but i don't. 

and i don't know if i will. 


letter to a loved one from a burning building.

i have a system by which i determine how close i am to people. i don't even realize it, it just happens and i go "oh. yeah." because it makes sense and i see how they've impacted me. and you know these are people who have been there through the most significant parts of my life. like november, for my major bout of depression and so many others who haven't left yet. and i think about the friends i've had since starting college and how i've known you since the beginning but we never clicked until this semester. and so so very quickly you became someone i love seeing everyday and someone i don't want to do this without. and i think about what would've happened if i kept swimming and whether or not i'd be in a different place right now and i don't want that because the people i know now wouldn't be there and you are entirely irreplaceable. and i am so glad i didn't die before i met you. and i am and always shall be your friend. and even when i graduate and you continue to impress the crap out of me from afar, i hope that i am now and will come to be remembered as someone who was a tremendous blessing in your life. and even if we are on different sides of the world, or in different worlds altogether, if you want me, i will come back. i want to repay you for everything you've already done even if you've felt useless. this is the most significant part of my life and you have been so patient with me, and you've listened and offered up all your support even if the midst of your problems. and it's nothing if i don't give it all back. so congratulations. i was first your favourite, and now you are mine. 

i am the burning building. and i am also the match. and to think this would've been my goodbye. 
a few things to note:
it was difficult to find something that i could look at and say "this is it. i am glad i stayed alive to see this, i am thankful for this." until i found it. 
at this point, there are too many things i have to do to go anywhere. i would've missed my piano lesson. 
i am glad i saw his studio. 
i am glad i had this music so i could listen to this concerto. 
i am glad i got to see you on wednesday. 
there are always things in this world that will always make me happy to have stayed alive. 
sometimes it just takes all my effort in finding them. like running a 5k. there are thresholds, you said. 
and once you meet them and start talking it downhill, it's okay. 
a threshold: the weather. 
a threshold: the fact that my favourite sandals are broken.
downhill: waking up to the sun. 
downhill: turning pages. 
and to think this would've been my goodbye. 

hello, i'm here, still alive, until i am satisfied. 
i still don't want to go. 
-kiss kiss kiss, faith is not blind-
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