Do You. However you want it to look. Whatever you want to call it.
“One night we went to a chi-chi party and Jean looked amazing and some rich guy came over to us and said to him, “And what do you do?” Jean said earnestly, “I’m the manager of a McDonald’s,” and the guy just turned and walked away.” -- A friend of artist Jean Michel Basquiat
I love that story. For all its layers. Race and class and expectation... and most of all for Basquiat's clever, carefree playfulness in calling out the shallowness of a supposedly coveted place and status. Makes me reflect on how much titles and categories tend to make things easier and more comfortable for others than for ourselves sometimes. How it can be fun and freeing to play with/ defy some of those expectations, even if just as a personal check-in on how we're feeling about or seeing ourselves. If you've found the titles or descriptors that work for you, great. And if you haven't and are crafting a symbol as your calling card, a la the times of The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, great too. As the saying Viola Davis quoted in her Screen Actors Guild Award acceptance speech over the weekend goes: "I'm not who you think I am.You are who you think I am."
As someone who has floated quite a bit in recent years in terms of a home, once or twice in the past I have shared the answer: "I am where I am" when asked where I live because it was the truest and simplest answer. I felt slightly pretentious when I did, and slightly self conscious that Yanni would start playing in the background next. But it ended up being a cool little exercise. Am I comfortable enough to define myself for myself? Regardless of another's reaction or potential about-face? Can I not judge me for being me?
Some choice links of those who figured out/ are figuring out themselves, for themselves.
Octavia Butler's vision for her life come true
The power of a clear, determined vision. Hers that hadn't been seen before--a black woman science fiction writer. An inspiring reminder to stay the course with our own personal manifestos for how we want our lives to be. As she wrote: "I will find the way to do this. So be it! See to it!"
Rihanna's new album 'ANTI'
I'd consider myself more a fan of Rihanna 'the rockstar' than Rihanna's music, but I've listened to her latest album in its entirety more than once and enjoyed it. For lots of the reasons in this review. Her vulnerability shines through in a powerful way. I recommend!
Doing the things you enjoy, for no other reason than that, as your job or otherwise
"Asmah doesn’t like to give herself a label, because she finds it limiting. Creating is simply an essential part of her life.... She began taking pictures on her mobile phone when she first arrived at university, and out of a restless desire for more, began to add lines and geometric designs to the photos using a simple mobile app."
Mastering the Antidote to Anxiety, Self-Consciousness and Imposter Syndrome
My most recent read on one of my favorite sites, Brainpickings.org "...the idea that the opposite of powerlessness, that ultimate fuel of impostor syndrome, isn’t power but what she terms presence — the ability to inhabit and trust the integrity of one’s own values, feelings, and capabilities."
Remembering Whitney Houston's epic Star Spangled Banner performance at Super Bowl XXV
A moment I didn't realize had such a significant cultural impact (more than just sounding amazing) at a critical point in time, until reading the full story in Danyel Smith's article for ESPN.