I want to learn myself. I want to learn my power of voice. I want to learn my heart, my trials, my confusions, and my strength. I often shy from that which I fiend for: self-love, affection, my own art, my own words and thoughts. When I say shy from, I mean avoid. When I say avoid, I mean run, or hide. 

I grew up in a space that encouraged this avoidance of self because that self was black. I had to force love upon myself, and cultural education came from nowhere but home. School meant being called a n***er in the hallway on my way to learn the benefits of French colonization. School meant defending my collar bone, my calves, my thighs, hips, and hair to the lacrosse players who joked that I belonged on the team. Isolation became a beautiful place, where I could craft my own curriculum and create my own assignments. Those took the shape of poems about my body, my heart, my people. They embraced the thoughts I wildly feared, and the fears I perpetually thought of. My journal and my laptop became a home and a school that was void of everything but me. For years that is what my writing has been: just me, alone. 

What I have realized is that it is okay to share. Maybe even necessary. Maybe refusing to share is why I am so scared of my work, or scared to claim a title as a ‘writer.’. Maybe I can inspire the way I am inspired. That is why I am here: to learn from others and myself. I am so honored to be welcomed by this team. I am so grateful to be offered this outlet of inspiration and culture and love. I want to thank Michigan in Color for accepting me, and for believing in my thoughts. I cannot wait to get to work. 

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