Titles and things

I’ve got a blog post coming out tomorrow about what I do and so forth tomorrow but I wanted to touch on two things before that came out. The first is the title of the blog. I stole it from a friend (well a friend of my sister’s whom I consider to be my sister so it’s family really). In one of those late-night conversations, about life (and of course tacos) we talked about what we would want the title of our biographies to be. I didn’t have one or at least one that was very good. My sister’s friend had “Various shades of chocolate” which I then appropriated into “Various shades of Cocoa” (that was to ease my guilt really). As I’ve traveled and explored the name has taken on a deeper meaning.

I spent the last month visiting family back home in the states. I also had the privilege of watching the Toni Morrison documentary, with my mother and grandmother called, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. So many discussions and questions were provoked from that film but I turned to my mother afterward and I confessed to her that I had always struggled with feeling as though I was enough. I never felt smart enough in school, or fast enough in gym. I wasn’t loud enough, funny enough, or talented enough and I definitely never felt black enough. This was so much so that I didn’t read a female black author until I was in high school. I was so afraid that the experiences they were having and sharing, I wouldn’t be able to relate to because I was missing something. I was missing an element of blackness and I was desperately afraid of being outed for it.

Now, this is just one part of a longer story one that hopefully I’ll have time to explore in a more delicate and detailed manner at some later time. There are all sorts of things to unpack here just starting with imposter syndrome and going on to womanhood and this complex idea of blackness. But what I really wanted to share today was the idea that I’ve lived in three different countries, attempted to speak three different languages, started a new career, finished a degree, and did it all while being black not despite it. That was something I wish younger me could’ve seen. Various Shades of Cocoa encompasses various things that bring me closer to being the human that I was born to be. They are elements of my heritage, lessons learned in books and through people, and, yes, they include experiences I’ve had as a black woman.  All of these things, identities, ideas, believes, and creations are bound by a physical form. A physical form that is a shade of cocoa with a mass of curly (or as my grandmother calls it untamed) hair on top.

I wanted to take the time to share that because it’s something that I think about a lot. I’m also aware that the title of the blog feels slightly like a porn title.  (Although in fairness anything said with the right cadence can sound like the title of a porno which I think says more about our society than it does about titles. Although maybe titles are an expression of society… no, they are an expression of society because words are. So it’s more about the context than anything else.) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ End Rant.

I will be putting out some new fiction writing as well. It’s more than likely going to be out at the end of the week and will be a short fiction anthology…. hopefully. Anyway, enjoy the days, drink away the nights, and always remember that no matter who you are you are always enough.


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