Chaos ensues.

During my senior year of high school, I was diagnosed with angiosarcoma (which I Googled immediately… and shouldn’t have).

There are only four things I remember about that cancer diagnosis. How sweaty I was, how angry my mom looked, how much my dad cried, and how incredulous the doctor seemed.

“Hmmm,” she frowned, flipping vigorously through charts and forms. It’s entirely unnerving to witness a medical professional contort in real-time, orienting themselves with improbable data while preparing to translate what we could already insinuate was devastating news.

We all just sat there, me wiping my palms on my…

I haven’t missed a $450-$2,695 payment in 10 years. I’m far from finished.

Hope? Nope.

I knew what I was getting into.

I’m a first-generation college grad born to two amazing parents from South America. I prepared to graduate from a private, all-girls, college-preparatory high school at 16, got a partial academic scholarship to a private university, and proceeded to take out $15,000 a year in federal Stafford and parent plus loans to cover the rest. (Fun fact: no one, not even the government, is willing to lend to a college-bound kid who’s not even remotely 18 yet. This meant my parents…

Lessons learned while boldly embracing this body.

Do we make love or does it make us?

“Girl, you so fine, someone ought to put you on a plate and suck you up with a straw.”

Imagine someone saying that to you. That someone is a middle-aged, graying man in larger-than-necessary cargo shorts and typical Caribbean-dad sandals… who has been mistaken more than once for Cedric the Entertainer.

The seductive—and scary—sides of winning big on a game show

I won nearly $40,000 on the Price is Right in 2018. Unexpectedly, the experience was almost tantric in its sensuality. The hours-long, anticipatory wait in line, furtive glances at strangers nearby, and sweat (so, so much sweat) as we stood in handmade shirts waiting for the chance to caress Drew Carey in a public forum… it was almost too much.

Interestingly, we weren’t all there for the same reason. Not all of us planned to actually ‘come on down.’ Sure, the vast majority of the hundreds of us who gathered for one of two tapings per day at CBS…

My list of identities will never contain the word “mother.”

Black. She/Her. Cis. Hetero. College-educated. Cancer survivor. Blissfully married. 30.

That list of identities will never contain the word mother.

It’s the pandemic, you’re tempted to rationalize. It’s climate change, you muse.

Ah, it makes sense now; it’s all that racialized trauma.

You’d be right. But this decision transcends the external and lies deep within.

From the word Black, you’ll bring expectations to this piece by association. I expected that.

Black. Woman. American. If you can, strip your eyes of the film of caste, of indoctrination, or association. Shed that burden. This isn’t a commentary on the political. …

Ashley Strahm

Jersey roots, Durham fruit. Committed to justice, enthralled by stories, and inspired by an equitable future for us all.

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