The older I get, the more and more significant my identity becomes to me. During the resurgence of the BLM movement last year, I wrote about how important it was to keep pushing for change. While a very obvious change occurred politically in the U.S. (read: the election), it does not mean the work is done and the problems have vanished, as evidenced by the recent shooting of Daunte Wright. I can (and will) talk until I’m blue in the face about systemic racism against black people, but today, I want to talk about strenghtening allyship.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I joined a book club last summer that has truly become one of the primary highlights of my week. Each Sunday, I meet with other people of color to discuss books that directly address racism and race-related topics. It is the much-needed safe space that I didn’t realize was missing from my life. Every book helps me reshape my perspective and I think to myself, “This is it. This is the best book I’ve ever read” until we tackle another amazing read. A few books in particular, however, have really solidified how important allyship is. We started our club with primarily autobiographies and we started incorporating more fiction; still, the fictional and blended fact-and-fiction reads have detailed very real and historical events in communities of color across the globe. If you have been seeking new books by authors of color that give firsthand accounts of generational linkages, these are three you cannot miss:
Happy Spring, everyone! Have you seen the movie, “Soul?” I watched it around Christmas primarily to see beautifully designed, black animated characters. But, as Disney and Pixar would have it, I walked away with so much more.
At the end of 2020, I made a video about 20 lessons I learned from the year. Several of those lessons revolved around the appreciation I gained for time and daily life. Yet even as I write this, I am focused on what I am going to do with the days off I took next month, and stressing over finances, and trying to plan out my next series of hairstyles so I am prepared for the warm weather. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with that–we are stuck in the house with our thoughts, so we occupy that thinking space with ideas that bring us joy, excitement, anything outside of the mundanity we have been experiencing for the last year. I sometimes feel the way I did when I was unemployed in 2016 and part of 2017 just thinking the next day would be “the day,” and then looking up to see it’d been months of me doing the same thing every day. But what have I really learned if I continue to chase the future? I continue to operate as though time is guaranteed to me.
This past month, I have had to take a break from my creative endeavors. When the month started, I had so many posts and video ideas I wanted to share with a pre-planned schedule for all of my platforms. But the world has other plans for me. I wish I could say it was something that specifically happened to me or a thought that crossed my mind, but it wasn’t. I just burned out. You know that feeling when you just don’t feel like yourself? When a bad mood carries over a couple of days and then it’s weeks and then finally it’s been a month and you’re like, “Why am I not feeling better?” I know this is not a universal experience, but it is common. While I may not know what the catalyst was, I knew for a fact that I was not right at my core. I had to stop everything.
My blog’s origin story is much like any other’s. It started as a place for me to share stories with friends and family six years ago, and my readership eventually grew to include people I don’t know personally that also engage with my content. Despite a shift in said content in 2020, it still primarily serves the same purpose. I come here weekly to biweekly to share stories, thoughts, and information and, over the last few months at least, I have actually seen increased engagement on this platform. Still, in my best Carrie Bradshaw voice, I couldn’t help but wonder what the true future of blogging is.
With the rise of TikTok, it is clear the wave of short-form content over the last few years is not slowing down anytime soon (or potentially ever). Though the ‘main’ social media platforms still have their own competitive advantages, seeing Instagram create Reels and Twitter give users the option to make stories has shown that the biggest war right now is who can make the most interesting content in a minute or less–bonus points if it’s in a video format, though none of these platforms can hold a candle to the innovation that Vine users had, in my personal opinion. But we also can’t forget about the threat of the podcast. I remember everybody and their mom was trying to make a podcast in 2018 because, much like audiobooks, it has given us the option to listen to long-form content handsfree while also feeling like we’re chatting with friends (depending on the style of the podcast). There are a lot of factors that contribute to these forms of media being favorable to blogs: our declining attention span due to technology overload, the aging of Gen Z, the aesthetic appeal of visual content, and us being in quarantine and needing constant stimulation. However, where does blogging fit in?