Last Day of a Decade

I didn’t realize until way too late in the night that today is more important to me than tomorrow.

Today is my last night as a 20-something year old. This will never happen again. Tomorrow, well, it doesn’t mean as much. My first day in a new decade, yes, but the decade begins. Tonight, a decade ends.

Maybe I should’ve planned something. Something poetic. Something solid. Something vivid and vibrant and all those V words I swing about so frequently. But I didn’t. So there.

I feel a nice calm about this, though. And maybe I’m meant to sleep. To plan. To clean, a bit. Maybe I’m not meant to do anything big. Maybe this is preparation for the peace I’ve been dragged myself toward for the past ten years. Maybe this is the shaking off of all the friends, all the hurt and pain, all the relationships, all the expectations, all the unfinished stories and loves and lusts and forgotten words. Maybe I’m supposed to slide into this new decade unceremoniously.

This decade started, after all, with homelessness. It started with pain from pretty much losing The Boy Chin Wonder. It started with a new love that would rot and sour me. It started with a lot of nothing and it ends with something else. Someone else.

I enter this decade without the grim shackle of loneliness. Without expectations. Without many fears or pressures. With a growing form of agoraphobia but a love for it. With lots of pencils and pens and writing materials in general. Surrounded by cardboard and words, words, words. Without The Boy Chin Wonder, but also without the pain that I remember every time he’s with me. With Dude Ranch and all the things that come with his Autism, with his smiles, with his growth, and with his life.

As I wind down to a new decade, I feel like the same old Shaquana. The same old Trey. But there’s also so much hard, weighty feelings that are missing.

And maybe, just maybe, I can do with this decade what I WOULD’VE done with the last decade. If only it wasn’t…or I wasn’t…or they weren’t.


Now there’s nothing but me to hold me back.

Welcome to the next part, Shaquana.



Saying goodbye to the same people is old. So I won’t.

… … …


I have about thirty things to write and create for work. I’m a couple of weeks behind. And now I’m not sitting around boiling because of someone else, so the floodgates should open and I should be able to knock this work out, right?


Guess not.

I can’t afford writer’s block, honestly. Not with my business, at least. I can sit on my hands and not come up with the rest of my novel, with the rest of my short stories, with the rest of emails. But my business pays my bills and keeps our heads above water, so I have to shake this today. Now, really. Yesterday.

But I can’t stop daydreaming. Sighing dreamily or staring blankly at the wall or ceiling or window. I can’t stop wondering what is left to want and then wanting other things anyway.

It’s not bad. Not for me. But it’s so bad for business.

Wake Up.


Watching Korean films like I used to.

… … …

There was a time when I could convince you that I was the only person on the planet. On this entire Earth. That I existed by myself,  that even you were a figment of my imagination. I’d sit for hours every single night, avoiding sleep, watching Korean films. Crying like a baby.

Memento Mori. Samaritan Girl. Old Boy. Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance. Lady Vengeance. Green Chair.

I’d watch Japanese films. Live for violence and sorrow and exploitation.

Ichi The Killer. A Snake of June. Audition. One Missed Call.

I’d watch Chinese films. Feel thrills from little details like seizures and bloody nightmares.

Dumplings. H.

And I’d go on and on and on watching these films. Living in these stories and these moments as if my own life would never start up. Because there was no one else there. Nothing but Synecdoche, New York. Nothing but Last Life in the Universe. Nothing but The Science of Sleep or The Rules of Attraction or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Film was important to me. Almost as important as books, for a time.

I feel myself venturing back into that. Into the sounds of skin, close-ups of lips, the study of weary eyes.

I spent my New Year observing movies that I watched so much, I thought I knew the characters in real life. I remembered some of these actors and actresses like I really knew them.

I think I will go back to avoiding sleep. For the most part.

I think I’ll use my time machine for good every now and then.


If only I could translate sarcasm and cynicism into an active writing career.

… … …

The end of the year means a lot to me. I don’t find it as flippant and eye-roll inducing as a lot of people do. It means more to me than astrology and religion and a bunch of other if’s, and’s, or buts.

I can look back on a year and tell you how I felt with detail and emphasis. It’s just enough time for me to take a lesson, maybe one that I will ultimately ignore, and mold into something real. Looking back on 2017 feels different than looking back on 2016, than looking back on 2015, and so on. I find enough value in it to make sure that I write something, anything, on New Year’s Eve. There hasn’t been much to stop that from happening in the past 7 or 8 years.

This year was a lot of…nothing. Alabama was a mistake but one that I needed to make in order to move forward. This year started with a car accident and ended with a death. It started with a fresh start and ended right back where I was running from. But it did start. And it did end. And I’m not dead.

I made a lot of money this year. A whole lot. I think I made more money this year than I’ve ever made in my life (in terms of working – my Dad’s death obviously reaped me more money but that was lost as quickly as his life). I earned. I worked so hard sometimes that I wouldn’t sleep (or eat) for days at a time.

This year, I had two sexual partners. One that I’ve known for almost ten years and one that I’d only known a couple of weeks. This year I kind of lost the feeling that love gave me, the feeling that made me want to keep going back to it over and over. The feeling that made me deal with situations and attitudes I didn’t like.

The excuses seemed to fall from existence this year. The fear was immense. The desire to withdraw from humanity and become someone else, to live in my own head until my body gave up, that intensified. I’m going into 2018 understanding that I want to escape reality some way,  some how. Even if it’s just by doing well as a writer, moving somewhere remote, and dying in the woods of old age and romanticism.

I understand that my depression makes things up a lot. It tells me things that aren’t true. It takes things from me, things that help me cope: music, art, movies, love, lust, everything. But it can’t take my stories, and it can’t take my day dreams, and I understand that now. My fear of my writing dwindling and dying out have always been unfounded.

Writing will always be there for me. My characters will always be there for me. And so, I’ll take better care of them this year.


I don’t know. I go into 2018 as Shaquana Amanda Briggs, Trey Briggs, Treys Ludlow. I go into 2018 as the mother of Rajesh and Urijah. The sister of Tairina, Derrick, and Keith. The daughter of Denise Briggs. I go into 2018 as the on again, off again girlfriend of Wolf. I go into 2018 as a lot of old things, and also a lot of new.


I look forward to all the success, all the failure,  all the tears, all the fear, all the love, all the lust, all the writing and fantasies that 2018 will bring. I love being me. I love myself and all that I can endure.

I go into this year as a monster that I most definitely created, and I fucking love it.


Somehow, I’m excited.

… … …


I’m doing a bit better. Lots of laughing, a bit of writing, a lot of working, some social studies projects, broken tablets, and more.


Here, have some upclose shots of my babies, my life, my Sims. I’m going to do a long write-up on how The Sims franchise saved me from my Dad’s death, saved me from myself at the time, from everything falling to shit. Everything is a cash grab these days but The Sims will ALWAYS hold my heart.



Just random shots since I don’t feel like putting together a coherent story yet. And Aunce, at Belinda and Yunk’s wedding. Looking VIBRANT, jeez I almost fell out when I saw her.


But yeah. It goes.


Nothing hurts quite as much as realizing you are your own corner. You are the only thing keeping you from backing up into nothing.

… … …

It’s been a…well…a week.

This type of stress should just go ahead and be violence. I feel it eating me from the inside out and I wonder how it isn’t some type of tumor. It’s agony.

Tai’s irritating, manipulative boyfriend hung himself. She was finally leaving, this week to be exact, going to Seattle and starting a new life. Maybe a healthier life. Maybe a more satisfying life. She would have left and gone to Seattle and started work, kept in touch with him right up until the moment she forgot him. She would’ve forgotten him. The wall punching, the constant depressing, hurt facebook posts about his Mom that he hated, all of that. I know she would’ve and he knew that, too.

His overbearing mother wouldn’t overstep her fucking bounds and say slick shit to my sister, and baby the shit out of this grown ass 29-year-old. She could still baby him, sure, but my sister would be far away from this irritating woman’s blame (for every little thing – it’s always my sister’s fault, not her consistently disappointing son).

But he killed himself and my sister had to find him. And then she had to cut him down. And then she had to listen to his disgusting, terrible excuse for a mother screaming and accusing her of murdering him and calling her a bitch and saying ‘get out of my house’ as if she paid my sister’s rent. This woman literally told my sister to get out of ‘her fucking house’ when my sister PAID THE RENT, even when her useless son didn’t. As if it was her property – they rented from a rental company.

And you know…I am irritated that my sister didn’t leave sooner. That she stayed and let him continue to leech. That now she has pieces of her already fragile mind to pick up.


I love my family a lot. But once I get her on that plane to Seattle, I’m not talking to my sister again. I’m not talking to my Mom and brothers as much. I’m getting rid of Wuff and I’m cleaning up my house and I am going to ease myself back into solitude. I realize that it suited me. I had to call this grieving mother and curse her out for accusing my sister of ‘murdering her son’, the son that literally just wrote a Facebook post saying his mom told him she regretted him. I am tired. I am tired of having to defend grown people and shelter them from their own mistakes. Their own problems. I keep thinking, stressed and unable to do anything else, ‘I want to go home’. I am fucking home. I’m literally in my fucking house. But Wuff being a baby and telling me ‘you’re like a zombie, you’re so fucking serious and always complaining,’ and being endlessly irritating, Tai lying to me ALL THE FUCKING TIME, everyone on edge, it’s enough. I’ve had enough.


All I want is to deal with my own life. I will take that solitude back. Right here. Just take it back and move toward making it complete and utter – outside of business, I will exist in my home and not worry about anyone else.


I am exhausted in a way I have never, ever fathomed possible.


What a realization. I don’t believe in any of it, anymore.

… … …


Here, in Atlanta, in a $1,400 a month house, I woke up hopeful. I woke up with a lot on my mind but a very bright and vibrant sense of purpose. It felt like something was going okay. It felt like this was an okay run, this life, and I was keeping the pace.


Here, in Atlanta, at 11:45pm I feel violent in my defeat. I feel a sense of hopelessness that I can only compare with an actual character of mine. And that makes sense. I spent much of today wishing I could disappear, evaporating slowly into the air, and turn into that character forever. I spent much of today wishing I was someone else completely, someone who could not exist without making hundreds and hundreds of ancestors, thousands of other people. I spent much of today and yesterday and all the days before it wishing I could exist in the world I made in my head.


It’s not going away, I guess. Every road I walk down leads to a wall. And this isn’t something that bothers me. Even my characters, even the one I wish I was, even they are surrounded by walls and closed doors. Even they squeeze their heads between their hands and seethe, whimper, whine. But they are not me. That’s the only difference.


I realized today that I will always want to be someone else. That will never change. I will never enjoy this life in a concrete way. And it sunk in a bit more than usual. I’m not exactly burdened by it.


I wonder what it means in the long run, though. I wonder when I’ll hit a brick wall that really stops me. That even my characters can’t help me escape.


Someday, there will be nothing left but air.

And really, maybe not even that.

… … …

Unnatural things sit on my chest. I’ve been feeling this ugly, saturated heaviness ever since I put a sudden stop to my solitude. With the past sitting in my house, sitting around my house, laughing too loud all the time, drinking itself into difficult stupors, I feel heavy and salted. When I say anything that sounds like a real conversation, he grimaces.

Literally. His face quickly contorts and then he stares.

When I speak, he makes annoyed faces. Unless we are talking about popular things. Celebrities cheating or how ‘the gram’ feels or anything like that. He’s invested, then.

When I say, slowly and carefully, ‘did you check on that job’? He sighs. Eyes roll too quickly for confirmation. He nods.



This isn’t before. I am too old. I became too set in my solitude. And I had time to realize what was ME and what was the gaslighting.


So I already told him this wasn’t working out, and I already told him this is done. One month. And only that first day, when Dude Ranch screeched and ran about with him, did it seem like a good idea.

Other than that it was just a huge, ugly ‘I KNEW IT’.

… … …


But some lessons we learn hard and vicious. I learned not to take on family projects. From the difficulty of handling something for my mother, of telling her she wasn’t being clear enough, only to have her find someone else and be ‘clear’ with them. And the final product was, as I figured, only slightly like what she’d asked for. But she will never admit that, and I am too old to keep asking people to do such things. So I’m just going to stop calling.

People will wrap themselves around you trying to tell you how life is short. Forgive and yadda yadda yadda. I’ve been forgiving for a long time, my friends. And it’s never done anything for me, not yet. It has never eased any anger, has never changed any behavior. I forgive and remember and it still all turns back like a vicious circle.


I am quitting people. At least, when my solitude filled this home, I felt like a great human being. In the month that I’ve been ‘trying’ to communicate, I’ve been told how terrible I am, how abrasive, how angry and loud. And I’m over it.


Just us.

Sudden Things

Solitude has afforded me some peace. I understand with vigor that this peace is flimsy – I earned it alone. I earned it without ever staring down my issues with other humans, without ever actually figuring out why I wanted the solitude in the first place. It’s not enough to say you’re sick of everyone – why is the real question. How do you fix it?


I continued to ignore this question and now, surrounded in my own house, it came back up. Why am I sick of everyone? How do I develop healthy relationships?


Do I even want any?


It’s apparent to me that I’ll have to answer these questions whether I want to or not. I’ll have to take a good look at myself. A good look at my actions and intentions. A good, deep breath. And I’ll need to truly figure out what I want out of other people, whether I even want other people, and how to navigate from this point. I didn’t think inviting two people, two people I’m thoroughly familiar with, into my home would cause so much chaos in my mind. I didn’t think it would render me unable to work and, even worse, unable to write.

I didn’t think it would push me so heavily and quickly back into a sour mood, one that evaded me when I was alone with The Young Sir. Into a state of confusion. Into an internal battle.


But it did. It has. And I’m right back to figuring out this thing called companionship.


And I’m going to fucking figure it out this time. I know myself, now. Let’s know what makes ‘self’ happy.



… … …


No matter what happens, I seem to come back around to sitting in living rooms watching The I.T Crowd. Laughing loudly, sometimes with a bit of alcohol, most times with just myself. Usually, Urijah sleeps soundly in another room. This happens year after year, this same situation rounding me and keeping me from snapping in two.

Things have been interesting. Not good, not bad, but interesting. I had to let go of a couple more people – some I was fond of – and I feel a bit more narrow. It’s starting to look at bit like permanent isolation, me thinks.

I was moving back to ATL. Had everything planned, even let my rental office know I wouldn’t be renewing the lease on this lovely house. I packed my things, even. And then I got rejected for a house. And then another in the same day, for the same reason. Apparently, back when I was broke and had to fake my pay stubs, I was more attractive to home owners. With my successful business and my steady clients and all this honest good work,  nope. I have ‘unstable income’. I’ve been told that it’s because people don’t know whether or not to trust someone who is self-employed. Which means that this move is going to be an uphill battle.



It’s just fodder for nights like this. It’s just a reason for me to keep my large cash flow and steady growing savings to myself. It’s just an excuse to say fuck it and stay where I am. I’ll sit here and watch I.T Crowd. I’ll drink tea and watch Ouran, High School Host Club. I’ll daydream and drink coffee and sift into the night until I feel better.

I appreciate the sinking feeling. Falling back to Earth is a blessing.


I’ll live. But I’ll think twice about the whole honesty thing.