Image by Courtney Young.

It was a busy Friday and it called for all the Friday things. Grocery store. Pick up my son. Come home. Start dinner. As I merrily ticked those off my to-do list for the day, I took for granted that the life budding inside of me was handling its version of a to-do list too: grabbing nutrients from my body and coagulating itself into a fetus that would one day become a tiny, lovable human. I believed that with the same careless certainty I have about the sunrise and changing of the seasons, the rain and the cycles of the…


Maybe we’ve all been one at one point or another.

My late teens and early twenties were my stepping stone years, i.e., the years I drifted in and out of toxic relationships in which I was undervalued or not valued at all. Back then I settled for that treatment for a number of reasons; I had bottled up trauma that I refused to address at the time, was somewhat insecure about my physical appearance, and had gradually developed a habit of clinging to anyone who made me feel like I was wanted — even if they wanted me for the…


But I understand why you might think that if you watch a lot of TV.

Image via Nappy.co

The history of Black women onscreen is brimming with asexual mammy types, mouthy sapphires, and hypersexual sirens. Worse, since those first archetypes were first introduced, many of the roles for black actresses today are merely watered-downs version of them with few deviations. Growing up with those images, I absorbed them as a cultural norm and subconsciously accepted the message they conveyed: Black women are strong, wise, colorful, sexy, and supportive. Not so bad, right? …


Here’s what I wish I knew before I started, and why I ultimately quit.

Image via Karolina Grabowska

I was lucky enough to work from home during the pandemic, and while that wasn’t a first for me, many firsts came with it. Before, working from home meant lugging my laptop to a coffee shop or the beach if I found myself getting a little cabin fever. This time I didn’t have that option. So while I was adapting to remote work I found myself, like others, looking for ways to optimize my time. Since I’d only been in my home a few months before…


image via 3Motional Studio

The idea is growing in popularity for good reason.

What was once Omega Psi Phi’s Negro History and Literature Week eventually became Negro History Week. Then, that evolved into Black History Month (BHM). Decades later, I’m sure that supporters of the brief but meaningful month agree that what Carter G. Woodson and other founders of BHM gave to America’s cultural canon is invaluable. But now, just as it has before, it’s time for the observance to evolve again. I’d argue that such a change is inevitable, considering that what was once a week-long effort established by a black fraternity in…


A tale of the weird and unwarranted.

I wore my hair in a lot of styles while working in a congressional office for three years. When I started the gig I wore dark brown Senegalese twists in a neat updo, then alternated between kinky and wavy weaved styles, and eventually wore my afro when D.C.’s humidity became too much for my coif to bear. Anyway, no one really bothered me about it except one person. She was a pseudo-friendly woman who made irreparable scheduling mistakes, terrorized the interns, and made disparaging remarks to me about my hair in front of…


Photo by Andre Moura

Then, I lied about it.

As I chewed the edge of my coffee straw in the boarding area near my gate, that’s what I thought about most. Worse, I’d added such a fantastic element to the lie that people seemed perfectly happy to miss the glaring truth about my trip to Morocco. In hindsight, the timing should’ve given it away — I flew out just a few months after I separated from my husband, and just about a week before Valentine’s Day. Maybe my family and friends knew what I was doing and were just humoring me. Either way, divulging…


Performative grief is useless, temporal, and cyclical.

I huff and sniffle noisily when I cry. At my day gig, a guy who sits on the other side of me in the network of heather grey partitions that gives us all the illusion of privacy has heard me weeping more times than I’d like to admit. I’m sure it was a downer for him, but for the first few months on the job there was always some news that caused me to bawl my eyes out at least once a week. It was a damaging cycle. …


Even if it’s not forever.

By my early twenties, I thought for sure that I’d worked out the formula for perfect friendships. Looking back, I probably felt that way because all of the friends I had at that time, I’d had for years. A few were high school buddies. One was a neighbor I still refer to as “cousin” because we’re so close. One platonic male friendship is the longest of them all, which is probably owed to us adhering to boundaries throughout. Either way, in my mind I felt that my circle was impenetrable back then simply because I’d…


I choose that word for a reason.

I sat in the parking lot in front of the UPS Store in Crofton, Maryland with a face full of makeup and a lap full of papers. The meticulously applied Fenty highlighter I wore that day is called, ironically enough, ‘Trophy Wife,’ and the papers on my lap were by far the most depressing thing I’ve ever downloaded from the internet…if I’m excluding the battery of articles I’ve saved over the past year about how best to spot a mid-life crisis. Besides the copy on my lap, there were two more copies in…

M'Shai S. Dash

She/Her/هِي َ. Writer and digital content curator. Capitol Hill alum. Find writing on travel, race, relationships, and mental wellness here.

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