New sections that need your feedback!

Hi everyone,

Double me in your inbox today.

I’m reaching out with news about two additions.

1: Cool Tings My Friends Do — so if you’re a friend lol send me things you launched, wrote, etc. and if they resonate with me, I’ll share them in the newsletter!

2: I do a lot of research. This section will be deep dives into various topics that not only shed light but also *hopefully* provide value. If you’ve got anything you’ve been meaning to learn more about but haven’t had the time to or something you’re just curious about, respond below and I’ll add it to my list of researchy email possibilities.

xoxo

G

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Do you remember, the 21st night of September? September 2019 In Review

These newsletters will one day be a step by step guide to how I got over, through, to where I wanted to go.

September 2019. Galicia, Spain.

Noticing/Feeling/Missing: 

I have a lot going on. I always tend to have a lot going on but after doing mostly nothing all summer, diving back into my work was quite weird. I sent some pitches and got some picked up (YAY) some ignored (UGH) and some rejected (IT HAPPENS). I tried to keep going to the gym with my mom (I’ve gotta sign up for the one here in Spain now that I’m back). I did last minute stuff to get ready for Spain. I saw family <3. I went on a date (like whet? Lol). Most of this year has felt like an extended exercise in rest and while I don’t know if I’ll ever ramp back up to where I was/if I ever should (I’m not sure it was the healthiest way of being), I’m thankful that I finally feel less burned out and more clear on what my offerings will be. I thought stepping back from projects (RIP The Reign XY) might mean I was done, but it’s really just been an exercise in regrouping. Still getting my heart right. Still exploring without parameters. It’s feeling less weird and more normal. Still discovering ideas and what this next chapter of my artistry and womanhood will look like. It’s grounded and rooted. I’m excited about that. 

Liking: 

Hibachi. That’s it, that’s the tweet. ‘Twas my last meal with my parents before heading back to Europe and it’s just so good. Shoutout to me as well though for learning how to make yum-yum sauce at home. TEE HEE HEE. 

Reading: 

BOOKS: THICK: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom (fun) | A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid (work) 

ARTICLES: 4 Approaches to Personal Branding | The 1st Known Female Cartographer | 10 Rules of Writing | 10 Rules of Writing (Round 2) | On Etsy and Corporations Who Try to Do Things Differently | Who has time to read? On what? And where? | On Overtravel and the Joy of the Unsung | Caroline Calloway and Natalie Beach | An African History of the Booker Prize | The Great American Roadtrip | The Personal Essay as Form | Women’s Magazines are Dying | Who Would I be without Instagram? | America’s Reading Class | The Writing Retreat Boom | The Great British Bake Off is Socialist? | Building a Unicorn at Stanford | The Danger of Reducing Everything to a Story | “We Need to Talk About TED” transcript | How Not to Mourn Toni Morrison | Where Your Crystals Come From | The Ins and Outs of Book Deals | Summer In New York | Art in Zimbabwe | New Black Fashion Photographers | Good Taste & Class Anxiety | The best $1.50 I ever spent | Hollywood’s First Black Woman Director | Beyoncé and the Heart of Darkness | Can People Become Houses?

Listening to: 

Watching: 

Worked on/Launched/Wrote: 

Feminist Passport: Turkey for HelloGiggles 

Turkey. 2019. Photo by me.

Studying: 

Why Vinyl, Magazines, and Books will never go away
Publisher’s Weekly Resources for Writers

Went to: 

Galicia, Spain AKA back home :) 

Going to next: 

Madrid, Spain + Leeds/Manchester, England 

Wanting: 

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Red At the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Supporting: 

A Space in this Body by Damola Akintunde if I were in Durham, NC 

For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad if I was in London 

Encouragement: 

You’re Not Stuck

to be continued…
Gabrielle

October's Affirmation.

Oh and, I (almost) lost my passport.

I lost my passport today.

I’m back in Spain, running around trying to get everything I need to renew my TIE (which is basically like a green card) and I lost my passport. I was at the concello (town hall) getting a paper that certifies I live where I do. I handed the clerk my passport, he looked me up, printed and stamped what I needed. He then put the justificante in my hand. I put it in my folder, slid the folder back into my bag, added my jacket on top and left. Headed to the bank to help my roommate get sorted, stopped at the market, caught the ferry into town, and made it all the way to the police station. As I was waiting in line, I was checking that everything was in order when I realized I didn’t have the one thing I needed for my paperwork above all else—my passport.

Frantic, I searched my bag once. Nowhere to be found. I had another look. Still not there. I couldn’t breathe. My life flashed before my eyes. How expensive it would be to get a new one sent to me in Spain! Would I have to go home? How will I get to the closest embassy or consulate?

Mentally I started retracing my steps and realized I never got my passport back from the clerk. Rushing out of the policia and to the taxi stand, I called the concello and asked to speak to the man who processes empadromiento’s. He had my passport and the concello was open until 1:30 PM.

Rushing to the port, I caught the ferry back to my pueblo, speed-walked to the concello, arriving at 1 o’clock on the dot. Up two sets of stairs and down to the right, I met the man. “Hola,” I say. He gets up, passport in hand. “Traté de llamarte, pero ya te habías ido.” He told me he had tried to call me, but I had left already. He handed me my passport. “Gracias.” I took a seat, relieved this had worked out how it did.

Sliding my passport back into its holder and the holder deep down into my tote bag, I left the concello. Turning right, I headed to the ice cream shop and got a scoop of chicle on a cone. It’s blue and bubblegum flavored with sprinkles on top. Walking home, I reminded myself to breathe. Everything was alright now. I had my passport. I can and will (Lord willing) go to the policia on Monday to get the document I need.

Everything was alright now.
Everything, is alright now.

Slow down.
Double-check.
Care enough,
Take the time—
to get it right.

to be continued…
Gabrielle

P.S. Mom, I know you read this. I have my passport. It’s all fine.

perfect peace.

vibes for the ride

East Lansing, MI. Septemeber 2019.

I’m going back to Spain tomorrow. Everyone keeps asking me if I’m really excited about going back and while I am excited, I wouldn’t say it’s of the ‘really’ variety. Mostly, it feels like going back to school for my sophomore year. I was excited to go back to the Hill and see all of my friends again. Excited about college in that way that feels like it’s the coolest thing you’ll ever do while you’re doing it even though it isn’t. I was glad to know my way around the place and have a handle on the institution. But, the experience wasn’t totally new so I wasn’t enthralled by it in the same way I was that first time we drove up to campus when I was finally able to see the clocktower from the road and the whole world was new.

I know what I’m going back to in Spain. I’m heading back to the same apartment, town, and community of people. Sure, some things are new like I have another school to teach at this year and I’ll have more private lesson students, but I don’t anticipate those small changes upending the whole experiment.

I say experiment because beyond just making sense for my life, moving to Spain has been an experiment in doing for myself—first. I’d give myself a grade on the last year, except I’ve moved past judging myself. I do know things I plan to do differently this time around. I’ve set my intentions. I know what I want the next year of my life to feel like.

I use the language of “feel like” instead of “goals” because goals box me in too much. They lead me to behave in very black and white ways when really the world is so crazy gray. And that gray space is the world I want to live in, for myself, in my head. I want to be more accommodating for how life shows up. I no longer desire to be a person of extremes.

Maybe my life is less about being good or bad and just about being what it is. Holding multiple ideas in tension, in space, in conversation at the same time. Less polarization, more balance. I’m speaking about myself here. My little corner of the world. My locus of control. Judging myself and everything around me less just makes for a calmer, happier Gabrielle.

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

- Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

It’s been so important for me to learn to trust in God again over the last year. It’s been so important for me to learn to trust in myself again over the last year. I’m sure a big part of both was thriving in another country, a continent away for 10 months.

I just had to make up my mind—about the person I was going to be, how I was going to be in relationship with God, myself and others, how I would take care of and the experiences I wanted to cultivate for myself.

My words for 2019 have been unencumbered creation. I thought they would manifest in all of these creative and professional projects. But where they’ve shown up is in the unencumbered creation of myself, this current model.

I designed myself. I chose the person you “see” today. And I’m really, really happy about how she’s turning out, coming into being.

All this to say that I believe we always have a choice (in most situations, some things are just truly out of our control). We have choices about what we chose to keep our minds on. We have choices about the energy we allow around us. We have choices about who we give our energy to. We have choices about what we eat, how we sleep, what and where we give our time to. We have choices. And ideally, what we choose leads us to some next, higher plane, some more beautiful version of ourself, our world.

What will you choose for your higher self, for that next person you want to be today?

Me? I choose to stay in this perfect peace. I choose to go home to Spain tomorrow. I choose to unapologetically focus in on my priorities for this season. I choose to guard my heart, for everything I do flows from it. Most of all, I choose to stay excited about life, even when, if, and maybe because things won’t always go how I’ve planned. Maybe Spain will be a mess. Maybe I’ll regress back to where I was before starting and growing through therapy. Maybe I’ll lose touch with God and myself. Maybe, but I doubt it. I’ve got this thing called faith now. And it’s grounded, no pie in the sky ideas about life and love. I’m all about being realistically optimistic.

Time and time again, I’ve seen that if I operate from a place of peace and joy, eventually no matter what I perceive as having been taken away, life will give me those back. There’s always a blessing in the storm, even if sometimes it’s just making it to the other side.

love and more love + some vibes for the ride. see you in October.

to be continued…
Gabrielle

Buy sunny.


P.S. If you got sunny. on Amazon, do me a favor and leave a review? Thanks in advance!

August 2019 in review

Things I read, liked, watched and learned last month.

August 2019. Ann Arbor, MI.

Noticing/Feeling/Missing: 

Doing something everyday is hard. I embarked on a clarity cleanse in August and think I halfway succeeded. I was supposed to be journaling everyday and while there is an entry for everyday of last month, I know I didn’t write them all on the designated date. Sometimes I’d skip a day and then do two entries at once (full transparency here). I do think the process of endeavoring to intentionally make time to process my day everyday was and could be valuable. But, I’ve got to commit to the consistency necessary to make that happen.

Liking: 

August was a month where I could really see the fruits of all the internal work I’ve been doing over the last year. It marked a year of time in therapy and the knowledge that I’ve graduated. Your girl did the work y’all. I’m going in for another session next week to really wrap things up, but all of the reasons I came in have been resolved/addressed.

I’m in love with all the self-insight I have now and that I’ve finally reached the point in my journey where being healthy + in-tune with myself is and feels like the norm. I’m proud of the ways I’ve learned to unapologetically put myself first—that I can make decisions that are best for me without feeling bad about it. I’m grateful for all the ways I’ve learned to forgive myself. I’m excited about trusting myself in relationships again and having taught myself how to speak up for myself in my relationships, romantic, familial, or platonic. I feel peace knowing I am better able to hold things for what they are without judgement instead of in extremes.

I’m enthralled by what possibilities will open up to me as a result of being the self I want to authentically in the world. I’m happy that those closest to me pree the gains, growth, and joy as well. My Mom telling me I’ve grown and that she’s proud of the work I did/do on myself just hits different.

Lastly, I’m intrigued by what carrying all this growth and work forward will look like without a therapy session every two weeks/once a month. The training wheels are off baby. I’m blessed by the faith I feel in myself. I know how to be okay now.

Reading: 

BOOKS: The Alchemist & Color Me English

Color Me English by Caryl Phillips was such a great read. I’m really into essay collections (in case you hadn’t gathered that already) and this one was an absolute treat. I read them partially for study, but also just because the essay as a form interests me. This collection was full of interesting observations and arguments about how color, movement, and a search for home/beauty/art (imo) impact and motivate us all.

The Alchemist of course is just a classic. Please read it if you haven’t already.

ARTICLES: Why Dictators Love Development Statistics | What Success Looks Like as a Freelancer | Have We Reached Peak Podcast? | An Ex-Influencer Speaks | Writing for the Sake of Writing | Looking for Lorraine | Books to read before you travel | How do you know when it’s done? | Outrage advertising | Why isn’t Birth Control Better? | Peak Newsletter | Well Read Black Girl | On Translation | What’s in a Last Name? | Instagram and Art | How to Stop A Mass Shooting | The Internet Broke Our Brains | We Talk to Each Other through Morrison | Old Town Road | African Literary Festivals | Social Jetlag | Bedroom Building | How Many Bones Would You Break to get Laid? | Baby Phat is Back | The Uninfluencer | Black Magazines | Did Venus Williams Ever Get Her Due? | Sugar Shack 

Listening to:

2019 Obsessions—Spotify + Apple

Anyone else download or subscribe to a ton of podcasts but only listen to like three episodes a month? No? Just me? Okay. 

The Blessing of Both | I Know How This Story Ends | Trust Me I’m Trying

I’m here for oral histories of popular events in Black culture. 

Watching:

How to Make Brands Sound Human—this video wasn’t boring at all (not that anything I recommend is boring but you know). 

Worked on/Launched/Wrote:

EightyTwo NinetySix is back! 

Insecure-Like: The Complicated Nature of Black Women On Screen (forthcoming) 

Spots for Lisbon opened and were quickly snatched up! 

Studying:

9 Things I Learned About Freelancing in 2017 

Went to:

Chicago, IL (again lol for my visa appointment & a catch up with some girlfriends!) I really think Chicago is in my future somehow y’all. We shall see. 

Detroit, MI (it’s right down the street I know) but I checked out the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Charles H. Wright Museum as an adult—thoroughly enjoying both. 

Going to next:

The view pulling into my town from the ferry.

Back home to Spain! I leave Sept. 25th 🤸🏽‍♀️ Once I get back, I’m heading to Madrid (Sept) and London (mid-October) off rip. I haven’t been to London since 2017 so, it’ll be awesome to be back. 

If I was in NYC: Simone Leigh: Loophole of Retreat and African Photographers 1940 to Present, both at the Guggenheim. 

If I was in ATL: Alexandra Winbush’s Tea Party! 

Wanting: 

Artists Trump Cards | Telfar 

Supporting:

Local Audiobooks! I’m really trying to get away from using Amazon’s services and for my friends who like Audible, here’s an audiobook service that supports your local libraries and bookstores! 

Something You Can Feel, 2008 | Mickalene Thomas b.1971 seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts

to be continued…
Gabrielle

*This newsletter does use affiliate links which means if you buy something through one of the links I will get a small commission. It adds no extra cost to you. Pero like, if you were gonna buy it anyway, why not support your girl in the process?
** PS I know it’s been about a week since my last email and I generally email every 10 days, but since I sent the first email of the month a bit late, here is me getting back on track.

Listen to EightyTwo NinetySix

Buy sunny.

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