The Mind Of Malaka: A Decade In Retrospect

Today is the 23rd of November, 2019, and officially marks the tenth year since the creation of MOM.

…I know, right? How many cell phones have you powered through in that amount of time.

I almost didn’t acknowledge this milestone, but my BFFFL – Nana Darkoa – is a firm believer in celebrating benchmark moments. Whenever I doubt whether to make a fuss about a life events, I hear her voice in my head.

“Of course you should!”

So here we are. I’m sitting in an airport, trying to think of something profound to reflect on and you, my faithful friend and reader, are…Well, I don’t know what you’re doing. I haven’t honed my powers of telepathy yet and Charles Xavier has still restricted my access to Cerebro. Damn him.

You think you better than me. Outchea with your lavish bald head, ya 1000 thread count cotton suits and your telekinetic abilities and what not.

Much has changed since I began this adventure. First of all, I was 31, had just given birth to my only son six months prior and was soon to discover my first gray pubic hair. The hottest song of 2009 was Beyoncé’s Single Ladies and the average price of gas per gallon was $2.63. Nana and I had begun our seminal work on Adventures From the Bedrooms of African women (also age 10!) in January, of the same year, and even though she had introduced me to the concept of blogging, I didn’t really understand what it entailed. For that, I have a dude named David S. to thank.

David and I were in the same year in high school, happened upon each other in Atlanta years later, lost touch and found each other again on Facebook. I was writing and publishing notes on the platform back then, amusing and/or interesting enough to keep coming to my page.

“Why don’t you put these on a blog instead?” said David.

It sounded like a lot of work. Publishing on Facebook was easy, and blogging looked hard. But I did. Eventually. I took all of my notes on FB (10 or so? Maybe more? I can’t recall) and dumped – literally copied and pasted them right here with no context, images or formatting. And you all came, hung around, and as you can see, things have gotten immeasurably better. I hope David is reading this, so I can tell him how grateful I am for his insistence that I migrate my work to my own e-real estate. In his posthumously released work, The Beautiful Ones, Prince talks about the necessity of Black artists “owning their masters”. He was singling out musicians, but this applies to all of us – writers, scientists, visual artists, etc. It’s imperative that we own and protect our intellectual property as well as the spaces where our work is published. I had never considered that Facebook might one day deny me access to its application, and in that decision, deny me access to my carefully curated albums and posts that I’d published over the years…but it happened. Had I not gotten into the habit of publishing my choicest work here, it’d be lost as well.

I have mop water for memory when it comes to certain events, so it’s hard for me to pinpoint singular events that have impacted me most on this blog in 10 years. I’ve recently discovered that that’s okay, as most of our memories are susceptible to suggestion, are not truly linear and are less reliable with time. But quote my friend Bessie who quoted someone else really brilliant: I might not remember what was said/done, but I remember how it made me feel.  In the ten years that I’ve been running this site (some years with greater devotion and commitment than others), I’m left with enduring feelings of gratitude. There have been highs, lows, times I’ve wanted to quit, moments if I’d wondered what if the energy being devoted to this space was worth and others when I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

MOM has put me in connection with kindred spirits, new friends from all over the world, earned me a few life-long enemies (if not enemies, people with whom I share mutual disinterest) and made me a better student, dreamer and appreciator of life.

I don’t know if I’ll be blogging in another ten years. The medium itself will definitely have to give way to something more contemporary and easily (read mindlessly) digestible. I still haven’t mastered the art of brevity and studies show that you most likely stopped reading 400 words ago…  

I’ll end here, expressing my gratitude. You all have grieved with me in my darkest hours, when my grandmother, godson and love of my life (Prince) passed away; laughed with me at the absurdity of raising children; comforted me during a bout with meningitis (yikes) and brain surgery (double yikes) and supported my work in numerous ways. Many of us have prayed together, confessed deep fears to one another, been an anchor and a comfort and reminded each other that we are not alone/crazy/doing the most when the world tries to convince us otherwise. I have done nothing to deserve such a loving community, but I’m grateful to have you in my electronic life.

Make sure you register to vote.