Illustration by ROBERT NEUBECKER
I’m sure many of you are familiar with this defect of human nature. An element of the condition that is pretty difficult to trace back to some sort of evolutionary purpose, unlike jumping at loud noises or an aversion to the word ‘moist’. The creeping belief that our ambitions are pipe dreams, that our place in certain spaces is unearned. The fear that we will be othered or exposed as fraudulent if we were to attempt to reach just a lil’ bit beyond some predisposed parameters and peer over that top shelf. The perpetual feeling of a stove top left on at home when in non-black settings. Looking up words you certainly know the meanings to several times over before hitting send. Feeling as though a grammatical error is an indictment on my literacy. Turns out, my understanding of normality was sort of flawed, pretty ugly and not at all reflective of the wide-eyed firecracker I was as a young girl. Gross, how trauma dulls us like overused blades. I’ve wanted to write and publicly publish my thoughts on a wide array of topics and ideas since I was a teenager, but continuously refrained from doing so in any meaningful way. Not the natural bit embarrassment that stems from displaying some sort of vulnerability in text. For me, it was a fear that came from a lifetime of rejection and othering. So even when I’ve reached a point where I am wholly comfortable with my abilities to think critically and formulate unique thoughts, I deal with that nagging feeling. Do these words make sense? Are they worth reading? Will readers understand me, value what I say? Does that matter?
That’s why I decided to go ahead and start journaling on here, The Neon Playbook. A space for myself, and perhaps one day even others, to practice some prolificity and archive thoughts regarding professional basketball and the culture that encircles it. Our thoughts are worth sharing, critiquing, elevating, and writing! Jotting this down as a mantra.
Now, to stop proofreading.