Today, AS RAKESTRAW turns one.
On January 1st 2016, I resolved to create one new thing every day. I could have never predicted what would follow. In short: writing – words, letters, characters in rows – changed my life.
However, while writing is a solitary act, continued existence takes the thoughtful actions of many. Simply put, no part of this incredible year was accomplished without others.
Today, I recognize them.
To the photographers – Thank you to Kristen Eisenhauer, Christina Oh, Tina Yu, Elden Maynard, Courtney Evans, Kristen Lovely, Lordale Benosa, and my sister, Stephanie Rakestraw. I am awed by your ability, vision, and above all, encouragement. Your talents behind the lens are the reason this site’s original fashion photography is possible.
To my partners – Thank you to Greats, DYNE, Mott & Bow, Agora Clothing, and On Point Fresh. I am truly lucky to work with you. If you have a second, please visit their sites. Each is a master of their field (sneakers, sportswear, denim, etc.), so a look is well worth your time.
To my family – Thank you to my mom, dad, sister, and relatives for showing me the light, then encouraging my steps into it. Before this year, writing was simply something I did. Now, writing is what I do.
To my mentors – I truly hope you know who you are. It’s been a blessing to learn from you, and a privilege to work alongside you. Your generosity has inspired me to seek out mentorship opportunities in my own life in pursuit of the simple truth your actions have uncovered: helping others realize their potential is the greatest application of your own.
To my friends – Thank you.
Every single one of you.
For the inspiration, the support, and for the indescribable pleasure of discussion that comes through sharing something I care about with someone I care about. You – yes, you, the reader – have given me a gift I can never repay: an invitation into your life.
If you’ve noticed, I don’t talk much about my personal life on this blog.
I set out to make this website a project and a resource, not an exercise in personal branding. So much of the richness of human communication can only happen offline, and to be candid, much of what passes for “connection” online is either a) tenuous or b) deceitful.
Ironically, perhaps because my personal life isn’t digitally-published for all to see, many have been kind enough to extend to me the privilege of that offline communication. When I follow a thought down a rabbit hole and then publish the results, friends stop to engage me about the opinions I formed or the language I used. If they have time, that stop becomes a dialogue, and from that dialogue, human bonds grow strong. It is in these moments that I am reminded how lucky I am.
Finally, to all 120,000 of you who read this year – Stay tuned. We stand on the precipice of another for another trip ‘round the sun, one filled with both promise and uncertainty. While no one can tell the future, Year Two will begin just like the last: with ideas, words, and unflinching optimism about whatever may lie ahead. Now, we set off on a journey to discover exactly that.
I hope you’ll join me.
P.S. Oh yeah - I’m starting a weekly email newsletter. It’s called “Noise Cancellation,” and represents my frustration with the clickbait cycle that plagued 2016. Every Friday, I’ll send out a curated list of the arts, culture, and news stories you need to know, plus, any posts from this site that pass muster to deserve a spot in your inbox.
If you’re interested (and I don’t blame you if you aren’t), sign up at the link here. The first edition will go out this Friday, January 6, 2017.