I made this video a few years back as a Father’s Day gift to my dad. The best presents are the ones that don’t cost a cent. Happy Father’s Day!
I don’t know how to swim.
I could list many excuses why, including an inherited fear of drowning, a childhood spent in the city, and a general fear of things I cannot control, but the fact still remains, I’m the girl who won’t venture past her waistline in water. I finally decided that I didn’t want to spend another summer wading idly, and signed up for swimming classes. I had fun during my first class, and aced the elementary backstroke. It’s a simple move for a more experienced swimmer, but it felt like I won an Olympic medal when I reached the marker at the pool’s halfway point. I was swimming!
Fast forward to my second lesson: the flipper kick. The combination of being face-down in the water and having legs that aren’t used to kicking to stay afloat made it difficult for me. After thrashing around like a fish out of water, my instructor told me that my legs were just muscle-dense, the consequence of incessant leg days at the gym. I’d have to work a bit harder. I kept at it, and kept at it, but it still wasn’t working. I text a swimmer-friend with a similar build and asked her how she did it. She replied, “Just keep swimming.”
There will be days when things come easy, and days when you’re challenged. There will be people who are in your corner, and others who try to tear you down. There will be times when you’re confident, and moments when you doubt yourself. But, no matter how hard it is to keep your head above water, just keep swimming.
I wasn’t really naked. I simply didn’t have any clothes on.
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher gave me a copy of Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to keep me from being bored in class. The only way to keep my nine-year-old self from doodling and distracting my classmates who were finishing the work I rushed through, was to give me a book. This book, however, was different. It had more pages than the others I’d read and it wasn’t make-believe. I found a friend in those pages; someone to talk to about not looking like everyone else, someone who trusted me with her deepest, darkest secrets, and most importantly, someone who showed me that writing heals. I read the book, over and over, learning something new about my friend each time and never tiring of her stories.
Two years later, my friend had written me again. This time, she wanted me to know that I was beautiful, not in spite of, but because of all the things that made me different. My big hair and my dark skin were things I should be proud of, and no one could tell me any different. Years after, whenever I doubted myself, I’d pull out ‘Phenomenal Woman’ and listen to Maya tell me how magical we were.
When I was looking for inspiration for my eighth grade valedictory speech, I turned to Maya. She reminded me that nothing that my classmates and I would go on to accomplish would have been possible without the sacrifice of those who came before us. She let me quote ‘Still I Rise’ to honor our ancestors and inspire our own greatness.
As I got older, I would visit my friend often through her prose, sometimes reading her poems out loud just for her and me. I would journal, and sometimes share my own poetry, because she gave me the courage to speak my truth. While she may no longer walk this earth, her friendship endures because words never die.
I spent Memorial Day at the South Street Seaport in New York City. After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, most of the destroyed stores have yet to return. However, the city has done a great job of keeping the area thriving with pop-up shops, food trucks/festivals and outdoor movie screenings. I stopped by a pop-up shop featuring clothing from Mary Meyer and handcrafted jewelry by Lila Rice. Check out a few snapshots of the shop below:
About Mary Meyer
Mary Meyer was born in Northern CA, grew up in Venice, and graduated from the California College of the Arts with a degree in painting, funded in part by a Yozo Hamaguchi grant. While in school, Mary studied printmaking, weaving, dyeing, welding and woodworking. She also discovered her penchant and talent for clothing design. Starting production out of her living room, she began to make custom shirts and dresses for her friends and peers. In 2005, she founded her company, Mary Meyer Clothing.
Mary is known for her casual and sexy designs, made distinctive by her custom prints. Her art is inspired by a wide range of sources, including African textiles, Japanese dye techniques, quilts, pop art, the beach, wheat pasted punk flyers, 90’s goth culture, and 80’s graphic tees.
In addition to her clothing company, Mary also runs the Mary Meyer Art House, throwing parties that showcase artists and bands that are not always seen in the mainstream. She also co-founded Step Right Up, a non-profit afterschool program that provides free arts workshops in New York City’s public schools.
About Lila Rice
Lila’s work is inspired by both the natural environment and the human realm of engineering, hardware, and mechanism, and she strives to create pieces that embody the beauty of both when they intersect. The collection’s aesthetic embodies opposing elements: the masculine and the feminine, the organic and the industrial, the antiquated relic and the modern classic. In her metalwork you will often find, for example, that Lila chooses to fabricate a piece with both yellow gold and roughly-hammered, antiqued brass, or that she makes the story of simple stud earrings more complex by adding snake-print texture and mixed metals. Evident in the collection is the influence of both ancient art and design and of the local scrap yard. And then, of course, there is the wildness and energy of the modern metropolis, which is the heartbeat of the line.
Before you start the holiday weekend with friends and family, take some time out for yourself. Your assignment: buy yourself some flowers.
Put on your headphones and dance. Yup. Right there. At your desk.
Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake – Love Never Felt So Good
Usher – Good Kisser
Iggy Azalea – Fancy