Nearly five years ago, I planted a tiny seed and now, I’m watching as it grows. Same Difference began as a dream, then blossomed into words, sketches, paintings, and finally, a book. I feel like the mother of a newborn baby. After so much time spent nursing, coddling, and grooming,she’s sitting up on her own, and I’m so proud.
When I was informed that Essence.com was interested in interviewing me about the book, a myriad of emotions ran through my mind. Excitement. Fear. Nervousness. Gratitude. The only thing that seemed to calm my nerves was a cleaning spree. I vacuumed, dusted, and picked up all of my daughters’ toys that I’ve been stepping over since I embarked on the Same Difference marketing marathon three weeks prior. But all of my angst dissipated when the reporter rang my bell, stepped through the door and began our interview, which, looking back, seemed like a conversation between two old friends. I felt very comfortable discussing Same Difference, maybe because the book is about my own life experience. Or perhaps it’s because I believe that, at its core, the book’s message is about self-love and the appreciation of diversity.
The more I discuss the book, the more I realize how my experience with my cousins, which is the basis of the story, is shared by so many people. This weekend, I pushed through the masses of book lovers at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books where I distributed bookmarks, postcards, and even sold a few copies of the book that I’d stashed in my purse. I listened to so many personal stories about sisters, cousins, nieces, daughters, and friends who related to this story ¾ my story. I began to realize that Same Difference is a universal story. While at the book fair, I was invited by teachers to schedule book readings at various schools, as well as mothers who asked whether I was open to do readings at birthday parties and children’s book clubs. I was even asked about attending a Girl Scout meeting.
As Same Difference has been receiving such a warm reception from so many people, I’ve gotten the sense that I, too, am blossoming in the process. I’ve never seen myself as a saleswoman or felt particularly comfortable with walking up to strangers and sparking a conversation. That is all changing. I’ve been introducing myself to a wide range of people as a new author, an illustrator, mother, and the light-skin cousin who wanted to be just the same as my two favorite cousins. I feel like I’m standing in the exact place that I’m supposed to be.
All that said, I’m curious to watch as Same Difference continues to grow and flourish, right before my eyes. I am excited about experiencing my transformation, too.