“Aysia, where do you find time in day to do all these things?!?!??!” is a question I get at least once a day, so I figured I’d write about it and put these comments to rest… for a week or so! Let’s start from the beginning. If you take away nothing else from this entire post, at least take away the lesson from the title. It’s the most important part and there are a few things about it that I’d like to point out…
While growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, going to school and having a set schedule made making friends something I didn’t have to put work into. I met people at school and we would hang out, do nothing, and get into some harmless trouble to pass the time. It was so easy.
Whenever I set foot in New York City, an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia and longing comes over me. Last weekend was no exception. My boyfriend and I took the Megabus up (never again) for a quick overnight stay for his show. For those familiar with the route from DC to NYC, you know the bus drops off at 27th & 7th Aves., right in front of The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Seeing the school was a trigger and like clockwork, I was suddenly venting to Marv about how I “really need to get back to me.”
About a month ago, I found out my 15-year-old sister was the victim of cyberbullying. She sent me endless screenshots of a conversation conducted within a group dedicated to belittling her, to which she gained access after months of this happening right under her nose. My hands trembled while I read the horrible names they called her, saw the ruthless memes they took the time to create about her.
One of my favorite YouTube channels, Shameless Maya, follows the journey of Maya Washington after she decided to live her life absolutely “shamelessly,” meaning she would no longer be detrimentally humble, shy, or downplay her talents and accomplishments. In turn, she adopted a mindset of confidence, bravery and, well, shamelessness about her career goals.
As a kid, I was spontaneous, taking on “big” projects at my imagination’s whims. I was inspired by what I saw around me, and sought to imitate what I admired. At four, I set my sights on emulating the storybooks my parents read to me, sagas I eagerly memorized and devoured. Armed with a limited vocabulary and pink colored pencils, I made my first venture into the world of novel writing.
My journey with literature, consuming it with the intention of eventually crafting it, has been a process of unlearning. As with most things in my life, there came a point where rather than accept my instinctive attraction to narrative and absorb its allure, I ran away from it. Afraid to proclaim myself as literary minded, not willing to allow others to perceive of me in its light, I feared that if I willingly vocalized its intoxicating and cathartic qualities it would somehow become external to myself, dampening the quiet intensity it burned in me.
My journey began over a decade ago in my grandmother’s kitchen. My ma ma, as I call her, used to make a sweet tea out of Lipton every couple of weeks. It intrigued me so much that my love for tea began. I would buy boxes and boxes of tea every month and soon started a collection. A cup of tea (or three) kept the good energy flowing inside me.