“I wish I had even half of your talent”—me too, it wouldn’t go to waste by the sounds of it. My talent, or at least how it manifests within me, looks something like forgetting how to inhale. It begets a numbing sensation on the left side of my face and fingers. It also involves an uncontrollable need for a sensation of any kind — the lesser of the evils I think. Before the tears, and in the midst of smiles and rhythmic twitches of my hands on the leather, my talent was raw in the purest sense of the word. It was untapped potential packaged in a love of instructional videos and mixtapes; it was the perfect combination.
Over the years, from that untouched well came a force. A seemingly indomitable, unwavering force of light skin, somewhat straight teeth and work ethic. The late bloomer. The underdog. The turtle that was lowkey trying everything to get the damn mud off of her feet to give those arrogant and misguided hares a long overdue ass whooping.
My finish line was checkered with Kelly Green and Navy Blue, but no one around me allowed complacency. Oh no, never that. I had to put on for the city. Harlem World! I was to put the world on notice by first bringing the city to the Midwest, then to the ACC, and ultimately to the country as a member of the best team in the nation.
Post-race, I still have a city on my back. Maybe that’s why my chest often feels like it’s caving in. My spine hasn’t crumbled under its weight, so in the mean time, you can call me “New York”.