Ashley Nicole Bourne
Actress, writer, and content creator.
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We were playing hopscotch in a small-town park not far from the neighborhood, expressing our hymns for Lauryn Hill, twisting from the root to the end of each other’s rich coiled hair, and our brown skin reflecting gold wherever the light touched us. We walked down the block to the local convenience store, that has not been renovated since the 90s, and a grown man shouting from across the street “Y’all stay blessed!” I told the girls to pick up their pace since the sun was going down, looking back at the grown man who stumbles into a dark alley way. We entered the store that smelled of cinnamon incense and aged walnut shrimp, the dim lights in the store stole our golden beauty, making us appear greyish, cold, and tired. We separated to different parts of the store while a worker, a short plus size woman with jet black hair and grey roots, followed me to the beauty section. The cashier, a beer belly man who chomped on a piece of gum like an angry alligator watched my other friends who were by the chip’s aisle undressing them with his eyes.
My imagination was birthed during a time I had only me, myself, and I. Whenever I played with my Bratz dolls I would take the girls out on extravagant shopping sprees in my tiny room that I shared with my older sister. She would periodically tell me to be quiet or force me to go into another room if I ever became too invested in the play time with my dolls. As I grew up, I realized that I wanted to see my imagination come into fruition. Therefore, I trained myself to draw cartoons because I enjoy the freeness of the art, the beautifully creative styles one can produce, how the dimensions can be manipulated, and hope to see my drawings come to life one day. I always drew many things that interest me like trees, cars, or random household items. Yet, someone special had come along to test my artistry, and it was a struggle I will never forget. I wished I had told them that I had a crush on them sooner too, but things happen, I guess.
Self-doubt has been gnawing at my brain for many years now. I think my problem started by when I was in elementary school. Someone was there to criticize me on every little thing. I remembered when I was a part of some dance group that I and some friends created for the school's annual talent show. We were doing a dance routine to "Lipgloss" by Lil Mama. Gosh, time flew! This girl, Nikita, who I always admired for her outspokenness, was the group leader and came up with a few dance moves that we shy girls could do. It was some hip rolls, a few squats, and the finisher was a jump split. The jump split and the random squats weren't an issue for me. It was the hip rolls. For some reason, I had a wave of anxiety to move my hips in such a feminine way. I didn't think it was in my nature to do that; I kept thinking, "Everyone is going to look at me and laugh. I can't do this." So, every time it was my turn to do the hip roll, I became stuck and uncoordinated. Then, Nikita told the teacher, "She can't dance. She's too scared."
A few months ago, I was scrolling on my Facebook timeline, liking random memes, reading the comments underneath a Tasty video, or going down memory lane looking at the horrible photos I took when I was twelve. I was always trying to “discover” myself whenever I entered the world of social media. I have always yearned to be someone great. I didn’t know what I wanted to be known for, but I know I wanted people to show me appreciation. (Wow, this is the most Leo-ness thing I ever said!) Anywho, I wanted to make an impact, I wanted to be an inspiration, and just be different. After graduating from college, I have been trying to create as much content as I can because I know I will never have another chance in time like this. I had created skits, Youtube videos, and have done videos with friends. However, something in me kept feeling missing. I pondered for a bit and realized that the missing feeling I was experiencing was my main talent. Writing.
I have plenty of dreams. One time, I dreamed About Barbie and Ken, Driving my benz, down the highway like Need For Speed.
"Three Little Pigs"
I remembered sitting on my bed watching the Winx Club. It was my favorite show. I should have been doing my homework that evening, but I decided that watching tv and scrambling my brains from cringe 2013 commercials were more important than my reading assignment. My mom came into my room and asked me if I finished my homework. I nodded and smile. I lied of course. Then, she said "Let me see." Dang it! I thought she was going to leave me alone in my little world, but I couldn't get out of this one. I showed her my reading assignment. It was a questionnaire about the story of the Three Little Pigs by James Marshall. My mom flipped the singular empty page on both sides and created a flickering sound.
They Watched Us
“Jordan! Jordan! Bring your ass in this kitchen.” Mama yelled as she wiped the sweat off her chocolate-wrinkled forehead. Jordan peeked his head into the kitchen, the dandruff from his scalp fell like little snowflakes onto the white and black marble floor. Mama groaned and grabbed a necklace off the kitchen table. It was long, rusted, and the emerald heart-shaped locket twinkled in the thin sunlight that trespassed into the family’s small two-bedroom apartment. “I have told you and your sister to not play with your grandmother’s necklace. Y’all have been watching too many damn Harry Potter movies and think every little item is a toy. This ain’t magic. Your grandmother protected this necklace like her own child. She gave it to me when I was old enough, and now, I hope I could do the same with you kids. Until then, you and your sister need to keep your scrawny hands out of my dresser. Now, go outside and get Bria, dinner will be ready in a few.”
“Weak” by SWV is playing on JBL speakers that are placed in someone's window across the street as teens chat around the stoop laughing and giggling with each other. A girl runs in the middle of the street as the water from the fire hydrant sprays behind her and she sings “Your love is so sweet, it knocks me right off of my feet...can’t explain why your love, it makes me weak.” Victoria, sitting on her stoop alone, watches the girl in the yellow and blue striped shirt with her jean shorts singing in the water. The other teens laugh and cheer her on, although her singing voice isn’t that great. In fact, Victoria thought of her voice to be quite of an annoyance. However, she notices the girl’s undeniable beauty behind the sprinkles of the water. Unlike Victoria, the girl’s lips were soft and plumped, her hair was a loose curl pattern, her skin is a mocha complexion, and she could wear anything she wanted without someone telling her she looked fat. Victoria’s skin tone is darker, some people would call her “midnight” or “turd,” her hair is usually in two frizzy puffs, and she wears hand-me-down clothes that are way too big for her size. Mama Pea, Victoria’s grandmother, watches all of the children frolic around. The scorching dry air of the summer itches everyone’s skin. “Go play in the water. I see you sweatin’ in dem clothes.” Mama Pea says.