I lost my mom, not my need or ability to be mothered.

Seventeen years ago, the trill of a million cicadas greeted my sisters and me as we left the church where our mother raised us. They landed on our car and shouted above our grief as we followed the hearse down a long Virginia road. Each mile took us farther away from the life we knew. Each minute took us further from our own memory. My mother was a woman of faith and told us many times, “when you see me there in that casket, that’s not me. That’s…

There are three things I hate more than anything in the world. Three things that I find terrifying, horrifying and down-right creepy:

  1. Porcelain Dolls,
  2. Clowns, and
  3. Puppets.

When I was ten, a family friend returned from a trip to Germany with a gift. I quietly hoped for a dozen Kinder Eggs or a ballerina music box. You can imagine my horror when I opened the delicate package to find my worst nightmare in my hands: a porcelain clown puppet.

The marionette, clad in the finest blue and green silk, looked up at me with a murderous teardrop beneath each eye…

Collaboration, not competition, is the heart and soul of the writing life.

This morning I met a fellow Girl Trek member, or Trekker, as we call ourselves. I spotted her rocking her SuperHero Blue and we immediately connected over the blessing of the Girl Trek Black History Bootcamp Podcast and the sustaining force it’s been throughout the wreckage of this past year. While she was walking, I was perched in a sunny spot with my laptop and she loved the idea of working outside in this lovely weather. Turns out she’s also a writer and like so many writers, has…

At this moment

There is a bird singing that doesn’t know

She was never supposed to be here.

Invasive Species.

Foreign Song.

And yet she sings

Boldly and beautifully


Today Disney+ released the 1997 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. After 24 years (yes, that made me feel old too), the film still holds up as a beautiful rendition of a classic tale and a powerful example of how inclusionary casting makes good art.

I was six years old the first time I saw a stunning princess with dark skin and long braids floating across the ballroom in the arms of a handsome prince. Brandy Norwood played Cinderella, glowing in perfect lighting and styled to perfection. Paolo Montalbán, a Filipino-American actor, played Prince Christopher — with a jawline…

I won’t be going to any Christmas parties this year.

It hit me while boxing up my crop tops and hauling out my sweaters for winter. I hung cozy knits and long sleeves on the same rod as the fancy blazers I haven’t worn since March when I came across my tacky Christmas sweater.

It is truly ugly — embossed with a giant fuzzy Santa head and a few other 3D features, and made out of some polyester blend that always overheats my typically frozen body. I’m pretty sure it’s flammable.

I have managed to don my gay apparel for…

This Is Us

You don’t get to disrespect me and still keep me

A confident Black woman standing against a prairie-like background.
Photo: Btihal Remli/Getty Images

We’re not friends.

There. I said it.

You and I are not friends anymore, and in the deepest parts of me, I wonder if we ever were.

Seriously. I question the things between us — the energy, history, past.

I thought I could tell you everything. All my sins and all my hopes. But there was always a piece of me that was out of reach for you — because you would not reach for it. You would not stand up, extend your hand, and try to grab this part of me that was always so heavy to hold.


There’s a scene in “I Am Not Your Negro” where a 1950s housewife is twirling about in her kitchen, doing basic June Cleaver-esque things. In the background you hear a reading of James Baldwin’s that talks about the grotesque violence of it all.

I keep replaying that scene in my head. The contrast of the supposed innocuousness of it with the undergirding truth that the construct of whiteness only ever had one end — to divide so as to eliminate all opposition. To be right so all others would be wrong. To be light so every other view would be…

I think it was empathy we were afraid of —

When we took our vows.

Vows of celibacy, abstinence

Refusing to be a part of a world we could not escape,

Terrified of getting close enough to cling to something real.

We were afraid of failing.

And of knowing what it meant to fail.

We called ourselves brave

For ousting ourselves from a world that would have held us close,

But really we were terrified.

It’s been years since I started breaking all of my promises,

And no matter how much chaos I create,

I can’t get the other shoe…

I wonder what it would be like to see your name light up my phone

Three simple white letters lighting up against the black

As it pulsates across the table.

I don’t get calls often.

These days it’s mostly telemarketers

With area codes from places I haven’t lived in years,

Or doctors with test results.

I wonder if that would be different if I had your name saved to my SIM card —

If I could type in one letter and the auto-predict would bring your three to the top of the list.

Would it be three letters?



Victoria Meléndez

Spirituality | Racial Justice | Friendship

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