Chimere Norris, also known as @chimerenmktg in Twitterville, has tagged me in an interesting your-turn-to-spill-the-beans social media experiment.
I’m supposed to share ten honest things about myself. And then tag seven bloggers I love, respect and admire.
Whenever these sorts of things go around, I usually hit delete as fast as I can.
Facebook and Twitter make us transparent. Do we need to go that extra mile and tell random people 25 more things about ourselves?
I talk about my weight, my clothes, my family and my work right here on this blog. Why on earth would I share ten (more) honest things about myself?
Eh. Why not.
Herewith. 10 (brutally) honest things about myself. (Read it quick. I’m so deleting this post tomorrow.)
Thank you to Chimere for tagging me. And at the end of my post, I’m tagging seven others I’d like to hear from.
1. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was four years old. My best friend Maya and I used to steal paper and pens in first grade and write stories. I went into teaching because I was scared to say: I want to write. Though I loved teaching, I knew I’d never be happy unless I gave writing a shot. And now, I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had not taken that plunge. Putting words down, one after the other until they make sense, is what I do. Period. If you ever hear me announce that I’m starting a business, or doing ANYTHING other than putting down words, one after the other until they make sense, then please know that I won’t complete the task. Or I won’t do it well. The only thing I do well is write.
2. My parents were in the Nation of Islam when I was born. Hence, my Arabic name. Aliya. Their involvement waned after Elijah Muhammad died. I flirted with orthodox Islam in college and beyond. (Wait. Flirting with religion sounds all kind of wrong). But as of now, I’m not a member of any organized religion. But I do wish I had a better spiritual core. I’ve visited several churches. And something usually turns me off. But I want my children to have a spiritual center and be a part of a church-like community.
3. My relationship with my stepdaughter’s mother is something I’m really proud of. We were not cool for many years. Scratch that, we were straight beefing for many years. And my stepdaughter was always really anxious about it. She saw a lot. And then, on Columbus Day, 2004, I got an email from TG’s mom. She thanked me for washing and braiding TG’s hair. I was stunned. Fast forward a few years and I talk to her every single day. My daughter goes to church with her and her family on Sunday. I babysit her son on Fridays. We talk. Regularly. About the kids. And about ourselves. I actually like her. She makes me laugh. She’s supportive. When I saw the cover art for my book she was one of the first people I called.
It gets me all choked up when I see my little one standing at the door on Sunday morning, waiting patiently for her Tati to come pick her up.
4. I’m so embarrassed that I stopped blogging a few weeks back. I was overwhelmed and taking on too much and I just snapped. But it was so whack to be all dramatic and retire from blogging. So corny! And then, of course, I realized I was being ridiculous and came back. I feel guilty that I had to put a stop to the Be My Guest columns and Stacia’s poetry and Fashion Friday. But I was burning the candle at both ends and hating it. I’m going slow now. And I like it again.
5. I kissed a girl (twice) and I liked it. Props to Katy Perry.
6. I have had a pathetically intense crush on Raphael Saddiq since high school. (He’s not gay. No, seriously, stop. He’s NOT gay! I don’t think.) I’m not sure what the deal is with Raphael. But TH knows how I feel about him. When I started working in the music industry, I was at a convention in Tennessee and a publicist friend said, “Hey Aliya, Let me introduce you to someone…” It was Raphael. I almost died. A few weeks later, I was at another conference. And he was there again. He was on the other side of a huge auditorium and he did a double take when he saw me and came marching over.
“Yes,” I choked out.
“You changed your hair,” he said.
“Yes,” I said.
“I like it,” he said.
He grabbed my hand and walked across the auditorium making small talk. I counted the steps we took. It was 17. My heart was pounding.
And then, that was it. We saw each other briefly outside a club that night. And then later inside another club. But I’m sure he doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall now.
Fast forward ten years and I’m in a midtown Manhattan hotel room, interviewing Joss Stone for Giant. I ask her about her musical influences and she mentions Raphael Saddiq. I gush about how much I love him and she’s giving me a weird look. When I’m done, she says, do you want to meet him? He’s in my bedroom.
So embarrassed. I did not see him. Thankfully. He was asleep. I had no idea that was her man. Eeew.
I still have a crush on him though.
7. I haven’t had a drink since the summer of 2004. The three years before that are kinda fuzzy. If we met between 1999 and 2004, there’s a pretty good chance I owe you an apology for something.
8. I’m a slob. That’s hard for me to admit. But it’s true. Right now, I have three weeks of dishes piled up in my kitchen. Dirty diapers in random places. And clean laundry that is slowly being mixed up with dirty clothes. I want to change this.
9. I’m fiercely protective of my personal life. My husband has made a bit of a name for himself in our industry. (He ain’t no Aliya S. King but you might’ve heard of him.) But I was Aliya S. King long before I was his wife. So I continue to use my maiden name professionally. And I don’t volunteer information about my personal life. With my blog, I want the freedom to speak freely. But I want to keep some things to myself. If I’m brutally honest, it’s also because he and I are fiercely competitive. (Like, really competitive. I’m hating on him hard right now because he wrote a cover story THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MINE AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THE EDITOR COULD HAVE POSSIBLY CHOSEN HIM OVER ME!!! Oops, I’m yelling. But it’s true. I’m still steaming over this particular assignment because it was me all day. And I’m a better writer than him. Yup. I said it. He knows it. I know it. And if you know him, YOU know it too. We both wrote cover stories on Puffy at the same time a few years back. Mine was better. One day I’ll post them both and let my dear readers decide.)
10.Sometimes I get choked up when I read the comments on my blog. I write what I hope are helpful tips on writing. And I get to come here and vent about my dog chewing up my favorite shoes, my daughter refusing to use the potty and other minutiae. It helps me as a writer. And as a person. And I’m eternally grateful to the folks who check out my blog and leave me encouraging words.
Bonus: I’m tired of my natural TWA. I’m getting a weave.
Here’s who I’m tagging.
1. Jason from FishandSpaghetti
Jason stepped to me at a college in Baltimore. I was there writing a story for The Source. He was a student. He wanted to intern at The Source. Stayed in touch. Sent his clips. And I brought him on board. Good dude. Smart. Funny. Love his blog.
2. Luvvie from AwesomelyLuvvie
She taught me about wall sliding and all kinds of fun slang terms. Often makes me cackle. And has a good eye for a nice shoe.
3. Belle from ABelleInBrooklyn
Straight forward, honest and raw. Love her blog. Felt so weird when I had to talk to her in real life for something work-related. I know her inside and out from the blog. And probably vice-versa. But we’ve never met in person. I like her.
4. Stephen Chukumba from stephenchukumba.wordpress.com
Stephen started blogging recently. And I love his style. He reminds me so much of TH. With his random musings on fatherhood. Great voice. Please read his post about how his kids are…quirky. Pure hilarity.
5. Thembi from What Would Thembi Do?
I can’t remember for the life of me how I stumbled onto her blog. But I stayed up for hours one night, reading every post. And I was (literally!) laughing so hard that I couldn’t contain myself. And I had tears streaming down my face. I even sent a reader submission to her, long before I started blogging. And her blog helped inspire me to start blogging.
6. Goldie from ItsJustGoldie
I don’t know Goldie. At all. So if it turns out she’s a serial killer, apologies. We crossed paths on Twitter a few nights ago and I was instantly smitten. I know for a fact that if I met her in person, we’d be fast friends immediately. Though I know next to nothing about her, except we both have freckles. And she works in a cubicle. And she wears cute, funky clothes when she leaves the house although she has to change into boring, business casual when she gets to work. For some reason, I find it fascinating that she goes through the trouble of wearing one outfit on the way to work and then slipping into another when she gets there. She’s like a reverse super hero. I read a bunch of posts on her blog. And I’ve decided that she’s awesome. Period.
7. Akiba from small. medium. large.
Me and Akiba once split an enormous bottle of Hennessy over two days at The Source. Starting on a Saturday morning. Early on a Saturday morning. Oops. This is supposed to be my honest scraps. Not hers. But anyway. We go back. A few years ago, she interviewed me for a story about women and body image. I droned on and on about everything I hated about my body. And she just said, I see. And MmHmm… Then she asked me to describe the physiques of some of my friends. And I did. I explained that one of my friends was a bit out of shape. She asked me if I judged her. I said of course not. She has three children, a full time job and does the very best she can.
And Akiba said. Do you have kids? I said yes. She said do you have a full time job? I said yes. She said, “So can I ask why you’re so hard on yourself about your body? And yet understand fully why other women might not be in the best shape?
I was in my kitchen, cutting vegetables for a salad and stopped with the knife in mid-air. She was dead right. And I’ve thought about that interview so much since that day. Totally random. But I appreciate how her line of questioning got me to think about my criticisms of myself in a different light.
I can’t wait to hear from all of the bloggers I love. And from my dear readers as well.
This post will self-destruct in T minus 30 seconds…