No matter what situation you might be going through, the most important thing to remember is that you define your narrative. You have the power to take an unfortunate situation and to learn from it, coming out better than ever.
Falling in the middle, both in body and with how I dress, is what makes me comfortable. I feel attractive when I take time to do makeup or sculpt my facial hair, I feel desirable in a flippy skirt or click-clacking boots.
My courage grew three sizes that day on the subway platform. I'm now less worried about other people's reactions to my trying on women's shoes or testing nude lipsticks. What does any of it really matter? It's my life. I own it.
What's sad to me is that we have bought into the propaganda that black masculinity and gayness are mutually exclusive. For this very reason, there is a host of gay black men who are comfortable being silent.
There is a purity in her girlhood: she has not learned to despise her femininity or distrust her good desires. She does not know there are people who scoff at her simple love and shun her pleasure in loveliness. And so, her girlhood shines like a beacon into my own heart.
I stopped shaving on a trip to Ecuador. As I traveled through rural villages and learned to appreciate the hard and proud lives of indigenous women and men and children, shaving just disappeared from my radar as a valuable use of my time.
When I was a little girl, I believed -- for much longer than I should admit -- that all dogs were boys and all cats were girls. I believed this despite the fact that when I was about five I had a dog named Daisy. But I never for one minute believed that Daisy was a girl.
For decades, I bowed to the assumption that I was less of a woman because of my faulty reproductive organs. Even after our family was complete, I bought into the stigma that I would abandon my femininity if I had a hysterectomy.
When it comes to the pink craze for girls? Now we have a problem. As currently used in the marketing of everything from clothing to tools, pink is no longer simply a color -- it is the foundation of a constrained concept of femininity.
I am so sick of the scrutinizing of female athletes and whether or not they are feminine, whether they can be both feminine and athletic, and all the rest of that tired, sexist, clueless, despicable BS. Heads-up: Athleticism is not gendered.
I will not blame myself or any other woman for giving into the fear. But I am going to celebrate every Serena, Bree, Malala, Janelle, Joanna and the countless other women who manage to point the way to out of the fear of being feminine while being who we are.
It's dark. Very dark. And I'm in the woods, surrounded by strange men with flashlights on their heads. I'm cold. Hungry. And really scared. A guy with neck tattoos is squinting at me. Please, God, don't let me piss him off.