Awkward Black Girl: The Gospel of Issa Rae

This entry is part 3 of 2 in the series College: What the F@#k Even Was That?

I want to say I discovered Issa Rae during my freshman year of college. 2015, two years after Awkward Black Girl and two years before the news that her new show, Insecure, hit the blogs. In that year and a half, I basically stalked Issa Rae’s career. I watched every press junket, internet blog interview, screening appearance, everything. I was high key obsessed. When I came across ABG, (on Tumblr – an era for another post) I thought the shit was fucking hilarious. I had, hands down, never seen anything so relatable.

I too was an awkward black girl.

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And I had never felt so understood. I was already in my feelings about what the plan was for after college. I was meeting a lot of new people and having the same cringy, awkward ass moments and it really gave me peace of mind to know I wasn’t the only bitch out here wondering what the hell was really going on.

So meantime, in between time, my bitch Issa was cookin. I had subscribed to her YouTube channel Issa Rae Presents – where she is still producing and releasing phenomenal content, btw – and I followed her on Instagram.

For a while there was chatter about something about a show called “I Hate L.A. Dudes” that was supposedly in the works. She mentioned it a couple times in some interview clips that I’d seen. A few months passed on that and crickets. I rewatched ABG.

Then she released her book, titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. I didn’t get around to reading it until a few months ago, actually.

As a broke ass junior in undergrad, I couldn’t afford any leisure reading.

But I read all the rave reviews it got and watched as many interviews from her book tour as I could. She did some public readings of excerpts from the books and even the stories she was telling about her own upbringing were so relatable to some of my own experiences growing up.

This bitch – I liked her. She got me.

I forget where she announced that she’d made secured the bag on Insecure with HBO, but I shrieked!

All this time, I had been rooting for her and now, it was go time.

And then the trailer came out fall semester, junior year. And bitch, I was too hype.

The show went on to break records and set precedents. Not even half way through season one, it came out that they had been renewed for a second season. And it was a phenomenal first season. Black Twitter immediately schism-ed into Team Issa or Team Lawrence and just like that, Issa had the game on lock.

Golden Globe noms, Covergirl, another season of Insecure

Above all, Issa was proof that if you just start with what you have simply on the faith that your shit is dope, the results can be monumental.

Her success inspired me more and more to leap out on faith in my own life (i.e. figuring out a way to bounce tf outta MS) off the strength that the things that I create are also dope.

Moral of the story: My sis is poppin’ right now and she really just wants niggas to eat with her. For me, the most enlightening thing she ever said was “Network around, not up.” Because that’s the squad that’s going to hold you down when you pop.

 

 

Welp, Glad That’s Over

So I finally graduated undergrad  and that was just what the doctor ordered. Really, once I finished my last exam, I felt relieved but when I crossed that stage, it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted.

I know I haven’t been updating the blog as much as I’d like and School has been a large reason for that. Of course, I post when I can, but lately it’s been feeling like the content is a bit stagnant. But I like blogging and want to continue. So bear with me as I reconfigure. But I digress…

Whoever said college would be the best years of your life, while not an outright lie, is incredibly misgiving.

I had some of my greatest moments in college, yes, but they were not a constant thing. They were more like the sprinkles on a shit sundae. Still tastes like shit but the presentation makes it look like it could have been something.

Looking back, I was actually wildly depressed for most of my college career. I’m not a drinker at all but sophomore and junior year, I drank my damn life away and my weed habit went through the roof. I still smoke on a regular basis because I do have anxiety and it does help to calm my mind down a bit but I can really go the rest of my life without taking another sip of alcohol and be just fine.

Going out was a thing that I had to accept that people did for fun. Why? I still don’t know. I have never woken up the next morning after a night of bar hopping and felt that my quality of life had improved in any significant way. But you look like an antisocial hermit if you don’t and plus, considering the line of work I want to go into, its helpful to at least look the part and play the game.

Moral of the story: College is a means to an end, not the other way around. I did not put myself through four years of depression, fatigue, and anxiety for a fucking piece of paper. I did it so that I could put myself in a position to do more and I feel like I’ve done that. These four years have given me room to think, explore, and ponder. Yes, a lot of resources, you will actually have to look for but they are there… if you have an idea of what you’re looking for.

To those coming up, college is not for the faint of heart. A lot of folks go to college (including myself) because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do but if you don’t find your own path along the way. Without cultivating some kind of sense of self, the bullshit that comes with college life will swallow you whole.

 

 

 

 

This College Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair

I’ve had body issues my entire life really. Dare I even say: dysphoria. I’ve always been a thickum and I’ve always had to be conscious of the things I eat so as not to gain any unnecessary weight. Not to mention, much of your social stock as a teenager is determined by how you look. So all through middle and high school, I worked hard to maintain a size 10/12. It wasn’t where I wanted to be but I had no choice but to work with what I had. It didn’t help that I wore uniforms all k-12, the epitome of unflattering.

Most of the girls found ways to dress it up. That colorful, plastic hair store jewelry was really popular in middle school and bitches used to come to school with those annoying ass bangles all the way up their arms. That was also around the time where the other girls started playing in make up and doing their own hair. Of course, as time went on, clothes got tighter and hair and makeup got more competitive. I still couldn’t keep up.

So, when I got to college I decided I would attempt to reinvent myself.

  1. By cutting all my hair off and going natural
  2. Dressing how I wanted

It was a new chapter in my life and I was trying to cast off the insecurities of middle and high school.

But college proved to be nothing but a recurring nightmare of broke-ness and anxiety. I had always been very much an introvert and being in places with a lot of people was not my cup of tea. I hated going to the campus gym because it was always packed and smelled like feet. And that cafeteria food is not the most nutritious. And of course, you can’t eat healthy when you’re broke.

In all my years, I feel like I’m finally getting to a place where I can start working towards being the person I wanted to be back in middle school. I’ve had a gym membership of my own for a few months now because I’m willing to pay money in order to avoid the risk of social interaction while I’m working out. I pay rent for a home that has an amazing kitchen where I actually have room to prepare health(ier) meals for myself.

Long story short: I feel like this is the most control I’ve had over my life and destiny in my entire life.

Personally, I’ve always thought new year’s resolutions were a bit disingenuous. But I’ve set some new goals for myself to achieve as we move in to month two of 2018. I’m tightening up on you hoes. My hair is flourishing, my wardrobe, my health. In hindsight, these college years, I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel so the way I see it, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Brain on Drugs #5

Every new year, I say to myself, “Vic, this shit’s gonna be lit. You’re going to do X, Y, and Z. It’s gonna be dope.” And then the following year proceeds to bite me in the ass. Like literally the last four years of my life. Recurring theme.

That span equates to the entire time I’ve been in college… and most of my senior year of high school too. Coincidence? I think the fuck not.

I don’t know how much I can stress how utterly fed up I am with college. If I hadn’t already spent so much money getting here, I probably would’ve dropped out.

But it’s almost over. I have two full months of undergrad remaining and honestly, I’m pretty excited.

Excited to (hopefully) get out of Mississippi, to be my own person, to not have to do group projects anymore… the list could go on.

But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. A bitch is almost done paying on these probation fees. A bitch is getting consistent-ish with her blogging. She’s finally putting some plans into action. I feel good.

I don’t want to jinx my 2018 but lately I’ve been feeling pretty good about the future. The bad energy is clearing out.

I’m satisfied with leaving it at that.

Brain on Drugs #3

Classes have started again. 

Being a black face in white places has been a constant in my life. 

Classes at a PWI for someone who’s black used to be quite anxiety inducing. My neurosis goes back to elementary, a place where I was also a minority. 

I can never shake the feeling that I’ve got something to prove. And though I prove time and time again that being an intellectual isn’t just a “white thing,” there is still a pressure – a sort of performance anxiety. 

Perhaps none of these white folks actually consider me to be in some way inferior to them. Perhaps this paranoia is all in my head. It’s my senior year, and throughout my time here, in many of my classes, I have cemented myself as the smart, quiet girl in the back of the room. 

Yet still, there is the thought that I’m still competing.

How’s that for double consciousness?