A Bold New Life

“Would anyone like to volunteer to share a four minute story? We’ve got prizes”. The MOTH presenter, *John, enticed. I looked greedily at the stack of books he plopped down on the podium. Always a sucker for free literature and immediately raised my hand. Me. The young woman who can sometimes barely look a person in the eye. Me. The young woman who freezes mid conversation with a complete stranger. Me. The young woman who used to keep her eyes planted on the sidewalk. Me. The young woman who immediately races past chatty church folk to get to the seat in the farthest corner, usually hidden by a concrete pillar. Me. The young woman who stayed silent at staff meetings even though a tornado of thought and ideas were swirling around her head. 

“Awesome! Come on up!” John eagerly welcomed me to the front of the room. The story I picked was random; an anecdote about my time working at a small movie theater walking distance from my house. God gifted me the title on the spot “Well Spoken”. 

I’ll tell you the tale of “Well Spoken” in another blog post. What mattered to me was not the story I told, but that God blessed me with the courage to tell this particular story in the first place. As far as stories go, there were far more compelling and poignant ones in my repertoire. And I really wanted the bell hooks (RIP) title “All About Love”

After I finished my story I received enthusiastic claps and John smiled and said “That was awesome, you finished in 4 minutes exactly!” He continued “There’s so many ways to expand on that story. Great Job!”. 

I grabbed my literary prize and two new friends I made at the MOTH workshop congratulated me on telling my story. 

What’s wild is that I wasn’t even supposed to be at that storytelling workshop in the first place. 

Let’s rewind to the night of June 17th. 

With Juneteenth approaching, I felt like I needed to commemorate the true “independence day” (loosely independent) for Black American. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture , a historic institution that specializes in archives of Black history, was holding a literary festival in honor of Juneteenth. I browsed the list of events and The MOTH storytelling workshop immediately caught my attention. 

The MOTH is a non profit organization that specializes in oral storytelling. The organization hold various storytelling workshops, story slams (people compete) and community sharing of stories. The premise is to tell a mostly unedited, true story in 5 minutes or less. The stories can range from a person’s first kiss to the time they were chased by rabid monkeys in the rainforest. Each story should be unique to the person, raw and exposing in some aspect. 

I was excited to see a free workshop and I quickly clicked the link to register. To my disappointment I saw there were no more spots left and no where to put your email on a waitlist. Bummed I prayed, “Lord, if it’s you will, I would really, really, super really like to attend this workshop”. 

Well, you know the rest of the story. 

If this was me from two years ago, I would have sulked and thought, “oh well, maybe next time”. But I shot my shot. I strolled into the workshop 30 minutes before the start time and asked another attendee if she knew if there was a waitlist. She responded she wasn’t sure, but encouraged me to stay. 

Because I was bold and took a chance, I met two new friends, both aspiring writers. I learned about different storytelling techniques. We listened to one of the presenters tell a compelling story about his time in Paris, France. 

If I hadn’t approached that brightly lit room, walls covered with pictures of smiling black and brown faces, in the basement of the Schomburg, I would not be telling you this story right now. 

God wants us to be bold. 

If you look at His creation, the entire planet is a bold statement of his majesty! We are told to fan into flame the gift of God that is is in us (2 Timothy 1:6). I boldly prayed to get into that MOTH workshop and 1 John 5:14 was fulfilled in that moment; “ And this confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us” 

One day, I’ll work up to  the MOTH storytelling stage. I truly believe God has placed an abundance of stories for me to share. Perhaps He can use my stories to spark someone else into sharing their own story. 

Because we all have a story to tell. And we have one incredible Author who writes our own. 

With Love, 


Resources: The MOTH: https://themoth.org/
Bible Verses Courtesy of: https://www.biblelyfe.com/blog/bible-verses-about-boldness

The Importance of the Yourstory

toni morrison
Photo Courtesy of Vanityfair.com

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.-Toni Morrison

As we move into March (Woo hoo for spring time!) I am in awe of how time speeds past us faster than the Road Runner (and like Wile E. Coyote, catches us off guard and knocks us on our bum). I’m grateful to share my adventures, musings and confessions  with you. Let the sharing continue! 

One of my favorite pastimes is going to the movies; winter, spring, summer and fall. I stroll into the lobby of a movie theater (shout out to AMC Theaters) and am greeted by the aroma of buttery popcorn. After I purchase the salty, buttery goodness, I eagerly enter the subdued lighted room which will transport me to another world for the next two hours. Since I possess a short attention span, movies provide the perfect voyage to new worlds, complex characters and universal themes such as love, family, adversity, fate, and dozens of other themes. The craft of storytelling is an important part of film.  With every film I see, I try to absorb the message the author is sending to the audience. 

The last movie I saw was The Photograph, starring Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, Y’lan Noel and Chante Adams. This post isn’t a review of the movie per se, however I definitely recommend going to see the film. With a predominantly African American cast, The Photograph tells the story about a young woman named Mae who recently lost her mother  to cancer. An art curator at Queens Museum, Mae meets a young man named Michael who works as a photographer. Mae’s mother, Christina, was a famous photographer who came from the countryside of Louisiana to pursue her passion for photography. Michael wants to do a profile of Christina’s photograph collection for the newspaper he works for and Mae becomes the platform for his research. The two meet at a gala sponsored by the Queens Museum, develop a relationship, fall in love, and, well, I’ll let you see for yourselves. 

Image result for the photograph movie poster issa rae
Photo Courtesy of Flickeringmyth.com

What I appreciated about The Photograph came from the universal themes of discovering your past, love, following your dreams, and longing for connection. Christina, the dreamer (Mae’s mother), falls in love with Isaac, a fisherman from Louisiana. Isaac wants stability and to build a life with Christina. Christina wants freedom to pursue her passion. Her steeled concentration of her passion led to her distant relationship with Mae. Mae tries to revisit that lost connection with the support of Michael (who struggles to maintain connection). 

Each scene of the film presents snapshots of the characters’ lives. One of the strongest elements of the film is the lighting and cinematography;the way the camera zooms in on Mae through Michaels’s point of view (love at first sight), the brightness of the countryside of Louisiana, the calm blue hues during a storm (this is where I caution parents with children under 13) while Michael and Mae make love for the first time. 

If you are looking for an action packed romp, The Photograph is definitely not the film. The subtleness of each scene is the movie’s core strength. More importantly, the film told a story with two African-American leads which didn’t involve drugs, gang violence, racism, poverty, or slavery. The topics listed are a part of the African-American experience, but that can be said for whites, Asian Americans , Latinx American, and Native Americans. 

I remember numerous conversations with my friend *Macy about how lucky young people of color are to have young adult authors such as Tomi Adeyemi, Nicola Yoon, Jenny Han, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Jason Reynolds to tell stories about youth who look like us.   Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” highlights how stereotypical storytelling can harm a group of people (her Ted Talk is amazing and one I will be covering her talk in a future blog post). I remember growing up and constantly reading stories about young African-Americans escaping slavery, dealing with gangs, or overcoming racism in the Civil Rights Era. 

Yes, those stories need to be told as they are an integral part of African-American history.  However, I could have used stories about powerful young black girl wizards, warriors, scientists, and superheroes. The reason I reclaimed my love for storytelling is because I aim to write the stories that were missing from my bookshelves. 

I am also a Christian who loves God and one of my goals is to write young adult Christian fiction. Oftentimes, I’ve observed the media portrayal of christians, particularly in America, as haughty, judgmental and hypocritical. When I write, I know I have the power to share my story, my testimony while showing the power, saving and redeeming love of Christ Jesus. God himself is a storyteller! The Bible is a true story of God’s relationship with mankind.  Genesis 1:3 read “And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light” (NIV) . God used words to create us! Psalms 139:16 reads “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (NIV). God writes the story of our lives, creates us and sends us off on an adventure to share His love. What a story to be a part of! 

Whether you’re Christian, African-American, white, Latinx, Asian, Native American, male, female, Differently Abled, or Klingon, we each have our own unique stories. Our stories can be powerful and engaging narratives that make a positive impact on our fellow humans. 

Now tell me, what’s Yourstory? 


The Bashful Butterfly   

I was able to visit one of the locations in the film The Photograph. Taken by myself, Feb 20, 2020