Another Blog, Another Me

Remember that episode of Spongebob where he and Squidward hilariously discover the Krusty Krab deep freezer is a time machine and they jump to prehistoric Bikini Bottom?  Imagine that we’re doing the same, except this time we’re going back to the mid 2000s. New York City was experiencing another year in its rebrand as a familial, sanitized, tourist trap: Times Square, ever so clean and bright with its advertisements, which housed the iconic TRL window where celebrities would wave to crowds of young fans.  There are sounds from the exhaust pipe of the bus, the delayed sounds of subway closing doors [pre Bing Bong era], earthquake shaking bass from cars drive past kids playing games, and at the center of it all is someone enviously taking it in from the (closed) window of their family apartment.

We’re looking at a teenage Black girl on her family computer obsessively poring over different MySpace profiles, many of them other girls her age.  Some of them she knows, some of them she doesn’t.  She’s looking at their profile photos, their song choices (and if they hid the iPlayer, she’d even Google the lyrics), and taking notes on their *seemingly* authentic confidence.  She’s looking at the photo comments wondering why hers don’t look like that.  She’s looking at the photos themselves and asking God why she wasn’t made with that curl pattern, the thin body for the outfits, and the desirability to be adored by everyone around her.

So she copied as best she could.  They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not when you’re trying to scrub out your very essence.  One time she got called out via one of those anonymous ask me anythings and knew the jig was up– from there, she had no choice but to be herself.  Can’t front on people when they know you’re fronting, right?

The girl you read about above is me. 

L-R, 2008 and 2009 during my junior and senior years of high school. A time where I couldn’t stand to look in the mirror, let alone say anything kind about myself.

I grew older and thankfully matured from this mindset.  I actually love being myself, but now I’m private.  Private as hell.  Private to the point where approximately 64% of the people in my personal life assume I’m asexual or a closeted lesbian from the 90s.  In all honesty, the older I got the more I treasured keeping things to myself.  Here are a couple of stats for example:

  • Only a handful of people know that I have two middle names.
  • Everyone thinks I live in a different borough than where I lay my head.
  • Of the handful of people who know my two middle names, only two of them have had a lengthy conversation with my father.

Whether it was me wholesale buying the idea of the ingenue as an artist, or some kind of emotional trauma around faking my online identity in high school, I decided to keep my cards close to the chest and only open myself up to friends who I deemed worthy enough to share my vulnerabilities. What I didn’t realize is that closing myself off oozes into my professional life too.

While I’ve always been a photographer, it was affixed with an asterisk.  Yes, I’m a photographer but, a photographer with a [traditional] job. A photographer whose bar was admittedly so far beneath the Earth’s mantle that just having the title was good enough.  A photographer who believed that she couldn’t afford, fiscally and emotionally, to leap into something as foreign as entrepreneurship, despite having been around it her entire life.  I believed that I wasn’t supposed to share the lows and highs of my experience, which is weird considering *almost* every client who booked me, did so because I shared parts of my experience.  There’s always room for change, and while change can feel weird it’s important for growth.

Making the decision to leave my *very comfortable* job in late 2020 pushed me into facing the emotional blockages I thought I faced and tore down when lockdown was du jour.  This newfound vulnerability has extended into this little blog of mine.  Will you get photography?  Absolutely.  Will you get anecdotes and photos of the pizza slice I ate?  Absolutely.

We bringing back the 2000s - livejournal, blogspot, MySpace, alldat.  This time, on my terms.

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