At 19 years old, his build was stocky and solid, with not much height to work with, and hands that were larger than expected. He walked with a slight bounce in his step, just on the ball of his foot; and a wide, bright smile, always, on his face. His mission, it seemed, was to make everyone around him laugh. He was laughter, and fun, and lighthearted, and, at times, child-like. Without warning he, somehow, etched a niche for himself in our little home among our little family in South Central Los Angeles. We did not have much, but what we did have we shared openly with him. In this way he became our brother, friend, son, confidante, grandson, soulmate, and nuisance (as little brothers, real or adopted, should be.) He took his life two years ago. He was 27 years old. I wish I had known we only had eight years.
I am just a few days shy of my one month anniversary since moving to the bay area. Classes have started, I am steadily growing in confidence at my new job, and I am making an effort to put myself out there and get to know people. In short, I am trying. However, I want to discuss an amazing experience I had over the weekend. My first excursion into the east bay area, specifically Oakland, was to attend the Zuvaa: Pop-Up Tour. To give a little background, Zuvaa is an online marketplace that specializes in promoting African/African-American designers, who utilize African textiles, prints, and designs in their collections. The founder and CEO, Kelechi, describes the company’s mission as follows, “…to empower designers worldwide with the tools to enter a global market and to make woman around the world feel bold and beautiful in vibrant and eccentric African inspired designs.” – Quoted from “Zuvaa: Who We Are“ Now, as the name indicates, this is a tour, which means there will be other locations visited throughout the …
To live and to thrive are two very different concepts indeed. One is to simply go through the motions of existence, while the other suggests blossoming within that existence.
Sometimes an escape is only a few hours north of home.
I look at my grandmother, and I realize that I am simply a reincarnation of her, and I am now witness to similar atrocities.