stella @ the beach

1. I spent the afternoon at the beach in Montauk, smelling of sun and sand. I wandered into the grocery store in a swimsuit and sandals to buy beer. Back at the beach, I laid out in the sun, read Mama Day, and dug a spot for my cold can of Stella Artois.

2. Tonight, we had dinner in an old bank vault. It was converted into something beautiful and our food–musssels, a bolognese, and a “chocolate mess”–was hearty and tasted like vacation and magic.

3. Two youngish white guys stopped us on our way to the car. “I know I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t take the chance to introduce myself,” one said. “I’m _____. You’re absolutely beautiful.” This restored my faith in chivalry’s existence.

4. I stood before the biggest waves I have ever seen in my life, and decided that I am not afraid of anything, and that I will always do my best to be happy–if I’m rich, or poor, single or married, have children or don’t. I choose happiness every time.

5. Spending my last night of my mini-break resting in God’s power, so that I may more fully recognize my own.



Stay blessed,


note from the hamptons

1. The only things to do in the Hamptons on a weekday are shop, eat, poke around a small town, and go to the beach. It’s lovely.


2. At an Italian restaurant, my friend D. and I were happily tucking into our meals when an older white woman looked at me disdainfully. I resisted the urge to shout, “don’t be mad because my breasts are real!”

3. While in Riverhead (not the Hamptons, as anyone will tell you–there are strip malls there), I took a call from my bestie. I ran into Wal-mart for cold medicine, and stood up in the aisle and chatted with her like we were at tea. I loudly proclaimed, “girl, you know men LOVE to play captain save-a-ho!” An older black woman walked by, turned around, nodded and smiled. It was one of the best parts of my day.

4. A stop in Applebees (in Riverhead), and another look, from another white woman. She clocked my Isaac Mizrahi bag and red trench coat and grimaced, as though I shouldn’t have nice things. The class differences between people in the Hamptons and Riverhead are stark, silent, and painful to notice.

5. More beach tomorrow.



p.s. just realized that men are out in these streets looking for a second wife while wearing their wedding bands. last weekend at Chili’s, one such man swaggered up to me. He proudly mentioned retirement, talked about how his kids were out of high school, and shared details about his financial situation. I was aghast, but hid it well. He was, to be fair, handsome, fit and most likely in his late 40s. But still.

I don’t think I’d like to be an an old man’s trophy wife. #singleinny


…and other realizations

1. It’s Friday. I’m in New York. I’m sick. I’m trying to decide between two-stepping at a bar with tissues in my clutch, or staying home and watching House Hunters International.


2. Prominent black women scholars warned me to slow down and not to get sick or die from the pressures of being a successful academic. Of course, I didn’t listen. I’m ill, right before I am supposed to go on a mini-break to the Hamptons.


3. My mom asked me today how much money I think I will make. I gave her a number. “That’s not high enough for your lifestyle,” she noted, without judgment.

4. My brief flirtation with poverty needs to end. Life in NY is far from low key Western Mass. Even in the hipster spots, I catch a glimpse of women with eyelash extensions, human hair extensions, stiletto nails, pedicures, etc, etc.

…on second thought, maybe i’m good without all that extra. I saw a woman who looked just like this in Penn Station and it scared me.

5. I may be the only single woman in N.Y. not on Tinder.




As my readers know, I’m a newly minted PhD, single, and on the cusp of turning 30, which is as amazing as it is frightening. Here are questions and statements by well-meaning folks who just don’t get it.

1. So…you just finished your Ph.D. What are you doing next?

This is like asking someone, “so…you just climbed Mount Everest. Which mountain are you climbing next week?”


Just don’t. Celebrate the moment. Let them #humblebrag about all the job offers they have. In the meantime, be everybody’s favorite person by congratulating your loved one and asking instead:  “where are you planning to vacation?” Or perhaps, “can i contribute to your vacation fund?” Or even, “lets get you a glass of champagne to celebrate!”

They will love you forever, and ever, and ever amen. 


2. You have a PhD?!?!?! It will be so hard for you to get married/find a man

Every time I hear this, I want to slap the taste out of that person’s mouth. Yes, some men are intimidated by intelligent women. The women I know don’t want to be with men who have issues with their success.



A better statement: “you have a PhD? girl, you can have anyone you want.”

And even if that isn’t *quite* true, it is still the best possible response.


3. You have a PhD? Marry a rich white man. 

Donald Trump

Yes child: my old next door neighbor wants me to go golddigging, but only for rich white men, because, as she stated: “there are no good niggas left, except for your father” and “if a white man cheats it hurts less.” Sooo many problems with all that.  

Clearly I’m gonna have to move back to my old neighborhood and start putting this degree to good work. 








but real quick though:

i want to tell you that a homeless man said i could be his girlfriend if he didn’t already have one. and i want to tell you that at least fifteen men mumbled feet-related compliments one day. one of those men met me on a subway platform and asked me on a date three stops later. i declined, but i appreciate his effort.

i want to tell you that a man ran off the train to ask me if i was Sassy. I didn’t know if he was talking about the quality or a person. To clear up the confusion, he took out his phone and showed me a picture of Sassy from Black Ink. “You look just like her!” he said. I was honored.


i want to tell you that i met a gorgeous guy at the worst time ever. i want to tell you that i’m still single because it is so hard for me to make the leap from “i like him” to “i’m in love with him,” and i am as picky and hard to get as all my family and friends tell me i am.

i want to tell you that brooklyn is still home, even after all these years, even though i lay my head down on long island. i am madly plotting to raise enough money to buy a house here.

i want to tell you that i love academia but i’m so sick of grinding.

tired of the grind

i want to tell you i just bought some hair that will make me look like nicki minaj as a church usher. i plan on wearing it with the dress that makes me look like a nun at a nightclub.

i want to tell you i can’t get enough of red cafe’s pretty girl gang:

i want to tell you that i desperately miss my friends in western mass, right along with beer at dirty truth, fries at sierra grille, nachos at high horse, pancakes at lone wolf. i miss the life i built for myself there, and starting over in NY is exciting but daunting….

Photo on 6-6-14 at 11.17 PM #2


…and exhausting.




On Moving (Back) to NY

My big behind is perched atop a rickety chair in a hippie coffee shop in somewhere, Brooklyn. The scarred walls, garage sale chairs, and the unbelievable view of the JMZ line, Family Dollar, a host of shuttered store fronts is not what I anticipated, but I’m writing here anyway, and praying I don’t tumble off this chair in front of God and all these white people.


I cried when I left my elegant apartment in Holyoke, a city I came to love fiercely. My best friend, there in open-toed sandals and a pretty dress, stayed until she could hear the rumble of the U-Haul engine and saw my caravan–a truck, minivan, and car–start its journey in her rearview mirror. I cried as we promised to meet for tea in polished hotels. It wouldn’t be the same, though; I’d take her mismatching collection of tea cups and her sunny apartment any day.


After the boxes were put away, and plans for the new kitchen drawn up, I left my beautiful apartment on Long Island and tripped into Brooklyn to spend time with a curator and friend from Western Mass. There, I stumbled upon the “Love Letter to Brooklyn” mural: “you were nurtured here” it stated. “I am made to leave, I am made to return.”

I handily dealt with public transportation and the advances of undesirable men as though I never left. I ate substandard tiramisu and missed Johnny’s Tavern; slipped into coffee shops knowing I could never find another to replace Amherst Coffee, and had cups of chai alone. I went to the Kara Walker exhibit and watched couples kiss in front of the Mammy’s naked behind.


In Williamsburg, I drank IPAs out of mason jars in front of a sign that said: “Spread Love, It’s the Brooklyn Way”, and tried not to look like a hipster. I stopped in the middle of the street when I heard Biggie’s “Warning” blasting from an Exhibition, as though it was 1998 all over again.


On a Saturday night, I rocked too-high heels and a dress long enough to wear around relatives, but short enough to make men believe their wishes could come true. I shared shots with new friends in the V.I.P. section of a crowded lounge. I barely avoided the Bridge and Tunnel crew–loud men with well-waxed eyebrows and women with orange skin and thick bodies stuffed into last months’ styles. (They still believe they run the city.) I kept a bouncer company, and did the most terrible shoulder shimmy I could muster up. He raised one eyebrow and asked, “Is that your twerk?”  I spent days wishing for a tea with Ya., and nights missing the sexy Marine I met right before I left Western Mass.



I love NY, which is the perfect backdrop for my new adventures. Here, I have the courage to face the future and fight for what I want. In NY, I am reminded of the fullness of my power.

I miss everywhere I’ve been, but I know I am where I’m supposed to be. I’m ready for this. So ready.





Grown woman, but still Daddy’s girl


Vintage post!

Originally posted on king RJD:


I loved my Daddy so much that i used to chew on his shoes. 

Yes. I know it’s gross, but I was only a toddler. I wanted to be near him, I wanted to be like him, so I chewed on his shoes. Not his work boots, mind you, but the leather shoes he wore to church every Sunday. The shoes he preached in. I still remember how he’d sit on the edge of the bed to polish them on Saturday nights.


I’m a Daddy’s girl. I used to sit and watch him build things. I still love the smell of sawdust and sheetrock. He taught me how to think, and how to question absolutely everything. When i felt insecure, He reminded me that i’m beautiful and smart, and i should always KNOW that, even without him or anyone else saying so. My Dad listened to my stories…

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