essays by shé


“Donate a share of your inheritance to my daughter promptly,” demanded James, and I laughed. It reminds me of his “great idea” in 2018 to hand over my brand-new 4Runner. No matter that I was 2000 miles away, trying to reconcile with our mother.

Whenever I start a creative project, inevitably there is a backlash. The bigger the project, the bigger the backlash. I noticed this years ago, while preparing for my first gallery show. I was up in the studio painting words of love in different languages, one word to one gorgeous orange sheet of waterproof paper at a time: Habibi, Ahava, Alskar, Bhalobasa, Cinta, Eshgh, Grá, Kjaerlighet, Liefde, Pyaar, Szerelem. My body was shaking, I was scared of screwing up. The dominatrix in my head said, “Who are you to be visible? Who are you to take up space? Do you really think anyone cares what you have to say? You’re an idiot. And you’re ugly to boot.”

Yet I persisted. There is nothing wrong with Love, I thought. Folks around the globe agree, see? The Beatles were right, and the converse is true: all Love needs is You. Which is Me. I am putting the word out there again. And this time I am remembering to apply it to myself.

Now I have three books in the works and the backlash is huge. “Keep your eye on the prize,” said a therapist once, then reminded me, “You’re the prize.” Oh. Right.

Shé, Love Translated Too, 2010
Shé, Love Translated Too, 2010




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: