Three years ago, I had the dream to move and experience life in New York City…that day has finally come

Photo by Jonathan Riley on Unsplash

Two years ago, I wrote about my initial NYC experience for Ars Poetica, the NY company I still write and curate for. The experience was life-changing — going to NY for the chance of a job opportunity on a complete whim. There was a joy and ease I felt amongst the commotion of the city’s fast-paced activity. So getting the job but not being able to move at that time was gut-wrenching. It was a decision I spent days wrestling with because I didn’t want to miss my opportunity, but I also knew acting too rashly would send me back…


The Pan-Afrikan Phantoms debate their decision to rescue two gifted kids from the racist Jim Crow South. Once in Alabama, the team realizes nothing is as they suspected.

Normally I wouldn’t go against my director’s orders, but in this case, the situation outweighed the risks to our lives.

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

People like us, with abilities, are rare. Typically, our gifts manifest in childhood, making it easier to end up as targets for violence from white people. As a result, most families have followed the same rule, no magic, under any circumstances dating back to the days of our enslavement, to keep us alive. But this practice led to many families forgetting their magical heritage. …


Without The Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance’s impact and magnitude wouldn’t be as we know it today. What could the story of their journey look like?

This is not a story of heroes and saviors, as it is impossible to save everyone.

This is a story of dangerous work and the fight to help those journeying to the new mecca, Harlem.

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

The New Negro Faction was birthed from the South's inequalities and the dream of more, something greater than our current reality. As those who built this country, suffered, and died for it, we deserve more. And we’re willing and able to defend ourselves against those who want to continue the cycles of violence we faced during slavery.

I am Noni — daughter of Mary and…


I find myself once again, nostalgic.

Staring in numbness, I look through old photos of the girl/woman I used to be. A cloud of sadness begins to surround me as I scroll through the months and years going from image to image. I search through my extensive catalog of photos and videos not only to reminisce but also to subconsciously analyze. I find myself looking back to try to find answers on how and when I lost that joy — that enthusiasm for life. Nostalgia takes over as I reminisce to regain those sentiments, even for a second. …


It felt like I was falling last night…

My body finally relaxed, allowing myself to feel everything as emotions flooded me. It was terrifying yet freeing, feeling so much pleasure and contentment at one time. The control I had over my composure was lost and I was at the will of his touch, his embrace. His arms wrapped around my body, holding me so close I could feel our heartbeats sync. His soothing words eased a fearful mind that was hesitant to go deeper into my feelings for him. …


There is no time limit on grief.

10/30/2018

It’s October 30th. In the background, “Chronic Sunshine” played as she waited for the result of the test. Her demeanor was eerily calm given the fact that the results of this test could permanently alter the course of her life. Her eyes were glued to the screen as the results loaded slowly. Gripping the test tightly, she waited for the last flickering block to become solid and display the answer to her lingering question. She had a feeling in her gut the entire weekend that something wasn’t right, but she needed the test to confirm her suspicions. …


C’s don’t always get degrees.

Almost two months ago I wrote The Graduation Blues as I tried to work through my anxiety over a looming graduation and having my life completely figured out post-graduation. It’s been a little over a month now since I walked across the stage at my departmentals and attended NC State’s commencement ceremony.

May 11th and 12th were filled with celebration, joy, and some tears as my chapter at NC State came to a close…or so I wanted to believe that. …


It’s hard to not be terrified of the unknown.

Cord ceremony May 2014

When I graduated from high school in 2014 my sentiments about graduating were completely opposite of what I feel now. I was more than ready to leave Rocky Mount, NC, filled with elation and optimism the closer I got to my graduation date. My plan was clear for what my future was going to look like for the next 8 years (mind you, I was only 17 when I graduated.). I felt fully prepared for college.

It’s four years later, and I’m approaching my graduation from North Carolina State University. I should have similar sentiments however, I’m still not sure…


I continued half-listening to the conversation as I sat there in my mind, flummoxed. I laughed out loud, realizing the parallels between the two conversations. Damn, I thought to myself. It’s not the first time I had an epiphany after one of our talks, but this was the first time I had one around someone else.

“Excuse me,” the Gentleman said with a look of confusion.

“I’m sorry,” I say between laughs, “It’s not you. It’s me. Just remembering a conversation from the night before — but I’m still listening to you.” He gave me a look a distrust initially…

Shakilya Lawrence

24. college grad. writer. editor. curator. writing through my life + emotions

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