Last week, I hosted my first workshop at the U. There was a lot going on within the school and the multicultural center where we were hosted, so the attendance wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. All together, we had about half a dozen students attend, and each of them walked away with a short story which they wrote. We had a really fun and satisfying talk about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 2009 TedTalk on the danger of a single story and having that story dictated by someone other that ourselves. I'm super excited about our next meeting and the prospect of teaching more workshops in this new year. If you are interested in seeing what some of my students wrote, please keep an eye out for www.centerthemargins.com
I also wrote a little something and though it pains me to share it, I've got to suck it up
So here it goes...
" I walk. I walk a lot. I walk to get to know my neighborhood. I walk to clear my head and loosen my joints. I walk to get to work. I walk home. When I walk I see the sky, grey and bright, the rhodies, azaleas, and maples budding and taking color.
When I walked in my old neighborhood in North Portland, I loved seeing my neighbors who look like me, heads covered by scarves or the hoods of their jackets. I haven't felt this since I was home surrounded by my family. I haven't seen my cheekbones, my profile in other people's faces in so long. I also see neighbors who look like my love; fair and sandy haired. Sometimes, I even think, "Damn, this gentrification thing isn't all right but its alright."
When I walk, people try to talk to me. Boys slow their cars and are all, "Hey Ms Lauryn Hiiiill" Bitterly, I think about how I wish I was Lauryn, so I could cut them to pieces with my words. I am not Lauryn. Men who look like my father, uncles, and grandfathers ask me, "Where you from, honey?" When I walk with my love, these same boys and men give him the side eye, look at him like he's taken something, they try to start something.
I cannot give them the stink eye strong enough
but I can't speak, or else I'll spit. Spit hate that I only partially feel. What I want to do is have a conversation about their wives, sisters, and daughters.
Sometimes, I just prefer the doe-eyed looks we get from old white couples and yuppies. I can't stand it, but its the less painful of these evils."
ps. Please let me know before you reproduce this piece in any way