Just Another California Girl
As a curator of stories, I find it’s always best to start at the beginning… My parents kinda sorta met at a KFC, and I wondered, in one of the largest metropolitan locales in the world, how did two Black people meet at a KFC for me to be here? But, that isn’t the beginning, now is it? My dad is from the South, the originator of the Civil War was his backyard, and my mom was a California wanderer. Then again, I’m avoiding the subject, and that’s unfair for me to do this to you.
Like any Black person, I’m comprised of a few parts struggle, a splash of remembrance, and as much reverence as the Universe could muster. Yet, I’m a compilation of Zora Neale Hurston’s opening lines, Audre Lorde’s gospel, Maya Angelou’s ancestral wisdom, Lorraine Hansberry’s radical tenacity, and Ntozake Shange’s feminine release.
I’m too much seeing and not enough knowing, but I’ve got this feverish desperation to deepen the latter. Maybe, one day I’ll get there. I’ve sat below the foundation of rock-bottom where a particle of light was my only guiding source out, and I’ve been kissed so deeply that I know that’s how the pyramids maintain their majesty.
I feel the most privacy lost in my city and the most sacred when I’m placing yellow flowers at my altar. I’m the richness of vanilla, the sweetness of freshly washed berries, and the bubbliness of champagne. I’m the beret of a Panther and the style of a Temptation.
Sometimes, I wish I could be the meditation that is H.E.R.’s “Comfortable” or the religion that is India. Arie’s “Ready for Love.” I want to be the ease of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You” and the soul of Etta James’ “All I Could Do Was Cry.” More than anything, I strive to simply be more. More love, more poetry, more gentle, more understanding, more art, more human…
I write because the essence of my survival depends on it, and there’s nothing more poetic than that.
Maya L. is an avid reader, skilled essayist, and poet. She’s the host of The Renegade Professor Podcast, where she aims to minimize the confusion surrounding race while inspiring listeners to become more racially literate. Follow her on Twitter for updates and stay tuned for her upcoming publication, The Renegade Voice.