but it is a house you can build.
Everything is Sam Wilson and nothing hurts
While they were shooting, J.J. Abrams invited me to lunch and invited me to come to the set. I was so excited. The surprise he had going was that the young woman playing Uhura didn’t know I was coming. She just gasped.
As J.J. had planned it, she didn’t have to shoot, so we sat for two hours and talked, and it was as though I had known her all her life. I was so honored. I thought I was seeing myself — I knew I was in good hands. She just picked my brain.
When I see her come on, that’s me and I’m living it. A little ways into the movie, I realized she had taken to heart what I said and became more reserved and tighter. I’m so proud of her. She took a role that was established and gave it life.
Now I know who I was before I got on that ship for that first mission. It’s so exciting for me and rewarding. J.J. and she did me honor.
over the past month or so, as the knowledge that my grandmother’s death was imminent became increasingly real, i have been trying to think of my favourite memory of her. one moment or story that really encapsulates who she was, both as a person and to me in particular; one point in time i can cling to and treasure and easily share.
but the truth is, she wasn’t just my grandmother. she was the second parent i wouldn’t have had otherwise. she was my teacher, my cheerleader, my friend. and something like that can’t be shrunk down to one moment, or one story. it shouldn’t be. even the traditions we shared, while precious, fall short — the shopping trips that ended in her swearing me to secrecy about the milkshakes and fries we were consuming at ruby’s; the way kashi will always be my favourite cereal because she used to give it to me the nights my mother was away even though i wasn’t supposed to drink milk; the way it will never feel like christmas to me until i watch white christmas at least once; the way i would wake early in the morning to come downstairs and sit in the chair next to hers as we drank tea and did crosswords; the way i always knew that if i asked how old she was in a story of her childhood, the answer would be ‘ten’ — none of these really get to the heart of everything she was to me.
she was at my piano recitals and my plays and my concerts. she read a countless number of books to me, and she sang me to sleep at night. she introduced me to sci-fi and oscar wilde. she taught me how to play card games none of my friends had ever heard of. she is the reason i love dictionaries and old musicals and the colour blue. we took some of our best family vacations with her, and laughed about the worst moments of them later. we fought with each other, but always forgave or forgot or both. when i grew older, i always knew that when i walked in the door, she would be there, reading in her chair, pretending she hadn’t stayed up waiting to know i was safe. she prayed over me and for me, wherever i was and wherever i went, supporting me in the pursuance of my dreams, never telling me out loud that she wished i would stay home, even though i knew there was a part of her that would have preferred it. she took me to teas, to plays, to museums, to art fairs, to concerts.
she taught me to appreciate the beautiful and important things in life, but more than anything she taught me that i could be a part of beautiful and important things. she taught me that i could create them myself. she gave me paper and pens and her time and made books with me that she laminated and bound and kept in her room, like they were important, like they were on par with all the other beautiful things with which she had filled her home. i don’t know if she did it with that explicit comparison in mind. but it exemplifies her heart on a fundamental level, because although she treasured beautiful things, i always knew that she treasured nothing in the world more than her family, more than me.
and there aren’t enough words or tears in the world to adequately memorialize her or her love; nothing to ever make up for the fact that i will never see her again in this life. but of all the wonderful memories of her i hold close to me, of all the things she could have given me, what i will always treasure most is the knowledge of how deeply my grandmother loved me. the best parts of myself come directly from or are inextricably linked to her and to the home i had because of her, because of her love. she is gone, but her love is something i will carry in my heart, always.
You wouldn’t know this, because you’re not a girl,
but all of the stories that raised me
actively sought to steal my voice.
The stories were named after adolescent girls,
to teach us that we were worthy of titles,
but the stories were not about us.
The stories were about the men who saved us.
So were mine for a while.
We’re worthy of titles, but not of living. We’re worthy
of beauty, but not of words. I was silent
(whoa oh oh, for the longest time)
when you met me, dormant.
I hadn’t given my voice freely, but no one cares
about that. They want only to know that I’ve learned
to keep my mouth shut. That’s how
adolescent girls win the lives to which
we’ve been taught to be accustomed. We sleep.
And in our dreams a blank face rescues us
from atop tall towers, because anyone who
can swing a sword expects to be welcomed
to our beds with gratitude.
Our learned silence is draped over decades,
ages, centuries of knowledge that no one scaling a wall
has time to stop and learn. We understand.
Not being eaten by a dragon is a sound priority,
but when the dragon fades you still see its echo
etched across our faces. I can’t ever know
who you thought I was. When I think of myself,
there are no flames licking at the edges of my history.
I didn’t know that that trick of the light
mattered so much to you. I didn’t know it was
going to inform everything that I was supposed to be.
If I’d had that lesson, I would have doused myself
from the start. I didn’t know that a man
who fell in love with a girl with no voice
would always have been petrified when
he learned who she truly was.
If I could speak to your future girlfriends
or wives or daughters,
I would give them one piece of advice.
I would say, girl, don’t fall in love
with the first man you meet. Because
that man will only ever want you
the way you used to be.