Guess who's back, back again
Writing is a vulnerable act. You put your deepest thoughts, poignant memories, most controversial opinions, and greatest fears to paper and give that part of you to the world. Once you put words on paper, you expose yourself to scrutiny, praise, or criticism in a way that is simultaneously liberating and terrifying all at once.
Thus, over the past few years since returning from Cairo, when people have implored me to blog again, I’ve said that I was too busy, and I was. In truth, however, I just didn’t want to be vulnerable with you yet. I’ve been fully engaged in the life I thought I wanted, the city I thought I should be in, and the job I thought I should have, if I stopped to reflect on any of this and put my thoughts to paper, my underlying concern was that I would expose the gaps and inconsistencies that I compartmentalized and you’d start asking questions.
I’d managed to bury myself in relative anonymity until a photo of me at a protest went viral last year. Deeply private, I found myself the subject of the very scrutiny, praise, and occasional vitriolic criticism that I’d been trying to avoid. What was most interesting to me though, was that even after that 15 minutes of social media fame past, people still wanted to engage with me and hear my thoughts on issues of social justice at home and abroad, structural racism, politics, and inequality. With the growing number of issues being faced by people of color in the U.S. (and also the growing scrutiny about how my decision makers in my field of work spent money meant for post-quake Haiti), it is inevitably time to blog again
The name for this blog came to me one day when I was on Twitter, which until now, was the only place I routinely engaged with strangers. I liked that it was a bit of a double entendre. It both encompassed the fact that this blog is meant to be the beginning of the next chapter of my life, the “first class”, if you will. It will undoubtedly be a place where I learn about myself and have continue to shape my worldview through interactions with you, the reader.
On the other hand, as an avid traveler both for work and pleasure, the chance to fly “first class” to my next destination has always been tempting yet elusive. Whenever one of my platinum status colleagues has taken pity upon me and allowed me to share in their first class experience, I’ve been fascinated at how much first class is a lesson in how much access and privilege money can buy you. Like my work on social issues in Haiti that often situates me in the country’s best hotels which incorporate elaborate façades to shield their clienteles sensibilities from the slums that dot the mountainsides, or the affluent D.C. neighborhood I live in on the border of poverty and urban blight being overshadowed by spreading gentrification, the thin curtain that separates first class is a lesson in cognitive dissonance & inequality.
As much as I have avoided writing, I am always thinking about writing. The words you read here formed in my head long ago, awaiting their chance to be put on paper. There are a lot of stories I have to share with you. I hope you stick around for the first class as I ease back into this.