In this collection of essays, Exodus Oktavia Brownlow adamantly admits to being afraid of knowing too much about herself, now. How learning certain life lessons have ripped her away from the bliss that ignorance often provides. How, in not being able to go back, there is the hope of what beauties may await in the forward, by facing the fear of learning everything that she can. I’M AFRAID THAT I KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT MYSELF NOW, TO GO BACK TO WHO I KNEW BEFORE, AND OH LORD, WHO WILL I BE AFTER I’VE KNOWN ALL THAT I CAN? is a prelude to the pursuit of optimism as Exodus makes honest discoveries about the body, the intricacies of loved ones and who they are outside of their familial roles, natural hair, fashion and the realities of what happiness actually entails.
Praise for I’m Afraid That I Know Too Much About Myself Now, To Go Back to Who I Knew Before, and Oh Lord, Who Will I Be After I’ve Known All That I Can?
Reading Brownlow’s work is like chatting across a coffee table with a close friend. This sharp and inviting collection explores the wonders of the Black feminine body, the parts, the troubles, and the infinite potential. Each story takes us on a journey ranging from the deeply personal to the depths of our weighted histories without ever losing the earnestness and beauty of Brownlow’s voice. The collection asks us to consider what would happen if we allowed the Black women in our lives to break and unravel, that is to be achingly human, without begrudging them the happy endings they still deserve.” —Ra’Niqua Lee, author of for what ails you
I have never been to the South, but these essays by Exodus Oktavia Brownlow take me there. With her vivid, immersive voice, she invites the reader into her world — a world with suffering and pain, yes, but also a world with love and, so powerfully, hope. Brownlow is a writer of devastating beauty and grace, and this amazing collection opens up a little window into her shining soul.” —Cathy Ulrich, author, Ghosts of You