February is a stressful month when you’re a Black writer. You want to honor Black History, but you don’t want to cannibalize yourself because people are suddenly interested in your Blackness and its inherent pain. To deal with this problem, I give you my lighthouse — a writing principle I try to live by every day.

The pain within the confines of my body will not be the sole component of the ink I spill on the page. I will not numb the pain that overlaps many aspects of my life to the point where my story isn’t in the narrative.