The trick about truth is that it depends on where you are looking, how much of the truth you can see, and what truth is allowed to be in the frame at the same time as another truth.
Both Angelou and Almanzar have this idea squarely in mind.
I take this idea roughly from Miriam Petty’s reimagining of Arthur Knight’s notion of problematic stardom: our public figures let us see where communities are actively working out their issues.
When we see a star like Cardi B emerge, we see a public reconfiguring of the meaning of sex work, respectability politics, motherhood, and reality.
The woman in the photograph is my sorority sister and fellow writer, Stacy Graham-Hunt, who the day before told me to follow Cardi B née Belcalis Almanzar on Instagram. However, I kept returning to her and unfollowing the others – there was a self-reflexive acknowledgement of what her body represented in public space, often mingled with advice on how not be taken advantage of by a man and extended violent rants defending her right to be treated with respect.
At this point, I was a photographer, and my writing and drawing were dormant gifts most people didn’t know I had. Her posts alternated Yo Mama jokes and the Black American tradition of the “Dozens,” containing inversions of stereotypes about strippers, including her speaking in French, posting videos with her family, pontificating on health matters including the threat of AIDS, and her faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s a work-in-progress memoir, Staircase Thoughts, my foray into a new structure of memoir for an age that is predicated on self-promotion i.e. faking it until you make it and the status of the autobiography during the decline of print media, particularly books.
The idea of staircase wit, also known as esprit d’escalier in French, is that you formulate the perfect retort only after it’s too late, after your dignity was compromised in a public defeat.
Accidents Accomplishment Achievement Adventure Adversity Age Aging Appreciation Art Atheism Attitude Beauty Being Alone Being Successful Being Thankful Belief Birds Birth Bitterness Black History Blessings Bones Books Bravery Brothers Brothers And Sisters Business Cancer Cars Challenges Change Character Charity Children Choices Christmas Church Communication Community Compassion Concentration Confidence Conformity Country Courage Creativity Culture Dance Darkness Daughters Death Decisions Defeat Desire Determination Diamonds Difficulty Discipline Diversity Dreams Dying Earth Education Effort Ego Electricity Empathy Empowerment Encouragement Encouraging Energy Essays Ethics Eyes Failing Failure Faith Falling In Love Family Fashion Fear Feelings Fighting Forgiveness Freedom Friendship Funeral Generosity Giving Giving Back Glory Goals God Grace Graduation Grandmothers Gratitude Growing Up Growth Happiness Hard Work Harmony Hate Healing Heart Hell Helping Others History Home Honesty Hope House Hugs Humanity Humility Hurt Husband Identity Ignorance Inspiration Inspirational Inspiring Intelligence Journey Joy Justice Kindness Language Laughter Leadership Learning Leaving Liberation Libraries Life Listening Literacy Literature Live Life Loneliness Love Love Life Luther Lying Marketing Memories Mentoring Mistakes Modesty Mom Monday Morning Motherhood Mothers Motivation Motivational Mountain Moving On Music Neighbors Overcoming Pain Parenting Parents Parties Passion Past Peace Perseverance Persistence Philanthropy Pleasure Poetry Positive Positive Thinking Positivity Prejudice Pride Purpose Quality Racism Rainbows Reading Reading Books Reality Regret Respect Responsibility Rice Romance Running Sacrifice Saturday School Segregation Self Esteem Self Love Sexism Siblings Silence Sisterhood Skins Slavery Slaves Sleep Social Justice Son Songs Soul Speed Spring Strength Struggle Students Style Success Surrender Survival Sympathy Talent Teachers Teaching Thankful Thanksgiving Time Time Management Today Transformation Travel Trust Truth Understanding Universe Values Victory Violence Virtue Waiting Wall War Water Wealth Whining Wife Winning Wisdom Wit Worry Writing Yoga Youth "I'm sorry to say that when some people get to age 50, they say, "Well, that's the end, I'll never have to do sex again." They lay down first and get up last!
(Extended Essay from Instagram) This is a post about regret, Maya Angelou, Cardi B, and my truth that encompasses the commodification of my body known as sex work.