349: “To Know What It Is Like” (Charlesia Mckinney)

                “What does someone need to know about you to know about what it is like to be you?”
                -Dr. Charlesia McKinney sharing a question she uses in interviews

                I love the question. I’ve started playing with versions of it for my own work. Lately I’ve been trying, ‘Would you tell me a story that has something to do with who you are as you come into this moment?’ I like stories because they let us tell a movement, a change—not a thought but a bit of being. I’ve also been wondering about the question: could I ever tell you enough to answer it? Could you ever really share what it’s like to be you? Right now, tonight, as the rain falls in Illinois, uncertainty moves back and the love stays. I love this question.
                I don’t know how to answer it. I suppose that’s one thing I could share to help say what it’s like to be me: my brain often moves in a few directions at once, and then falls over, or I hesitate not sure whether I think this or that, whether to lead with the story about the trees or a moment from how overwhelmed I was this afternoon. (The answer usually seems to be both. Inside that answer there are lots more questions about how I become/discover/go about creating me). Here’s another thing: one of my friends, an artist, said she loved being alone to make art, and in my art I often have the opposite experience—I love art because of how it lives within a community that goes beyond me. Here’s another thing: I like breakfasts with lemon in them because the lemon tastes bright, like daylight, like waking up. Like now starting to smile.
                What about you? What would you share?

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