My name is Des Roundtree and I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
I have always been a storyteller and it got me punished a lot during my childhood. A lot. Active imaginations will get you in trouble sometimes but I promise it’s worth it.
I am a lover of hip hop, acoustic guitar, Broadway and manual typewriters. After being diagnosed with Lupus and other autoimmune disorders, I decided writing about my life was better than most fiction stories I have ever read.
Des Roundtree - a blog that talks about everything from mental health to current events - came to life when all of my ideas had no place to live. Bouncing around my head quickly exacerbated my health issues and I found writing to be an outlet for my wellness too.
I realized nothing is more important than expression, no matter what that looks like, and I have always felt comfortable creating and holding space for myself and others to be their true selves. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing for some of us, simply existing and being validated for it.
Being a writer is the only thing I've ever known to feel right so I returned to school part time and earned my Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Empire State College in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Creative Writing. It was the most rewarding experience because it allowed me space to be my geek self and to feel “normal” when most often I struggled with just that. I graduated in June 2020, Magna Cum Laude. It was a day that I thought would hold more, emotionally, but what being in school taught me is I’m a writer. No matter where you put me or what you ask me to do, I am a writer first.
I am the mother of a wonderful non-binary teenager. Their happiness and the happiness of others like them is of the utmost importance to me. I celebrate them daily and the bravery it takes to be them. I have a husband who is slightly rock starish but I can’t ever tell him that.
Above all, I’m a human that still believes in other humans. Maybe that’s my naïveté but to me love is love and everyone is capable of it. Love gives us a peek into the future, a glimpse into the past and an anchor to right now.
And sometimes we need all of that at the same time.
Des Roundtree's Blog
I am beyond pleased to feature my brilliant friend, Des – an artist, a mama, an autoimmune warrior, a student, a wife, a spiritual soul shaker, and avid mask advocate. Des took a chance on purchasing my masks through a mutual friend's recommendation. We immediately began following one another on Instagram and our friendship took off quickly – bonding over questioning when you know it's time to chop off your hair. When we had an intelligent (yet humorously impassioned) direct message conversation over Pantone colors, I knew she was a friend for life – conversing with Des – let me just say, if there is an argument to win...you will lose. She is one of the most intelligent humans there is on the planet, a compassionate mother and wife, and her love of & for plants is other-worldly. We could all learn from Des' perspective, and I invite you to immerse yourself in her world through her words. Here, Des models her mask collection, and below each photo is a writing selection on topics from her blog (each article is linked by clicking on the photo).
COVID Selfishness: What It Means - (COVID): This year we spent a lot of time watching. We watched as others lived their lives in this space of lax worrying, worrying for the camera and the masses, but not really worrying. Not worry enough to change everything about their lifestyle, and I mean everything, in order to be done with what this meant for everyone. People were just not worried enough. They never have been. Maybe that’s a selfish response too, this idea that since it can’t “really” hurt them, it’s ok if they catch it. No one thinks of the person that they transmit it to that doesn’t enjoy the same circumstance. No one thinks of the circumstances they don’t know another person lives with whether that be a compromised immune system, a newborn at home or an elderly parent they care for. [Des wears "Book Club" mask]
Right Now - (Empathy): It makes me feel like I’m a part of a collective something, even if sometimes it’s just a collective scream into the void. It’s something. Other times it feels like a curse, to be so heavy with other people’s burdens as well as my own. To know that there are people struggling and there is nothing I can do even with all the help in the world I try to give, all the listening ears I offer, all the vibes I send and peace I wish - it's not enough. That's the downside, the feeling like I am always letting someone down somewhere. The constant feeling like somehow it’s not enough and you got it wrong. It’s very real. Trust me. [Des wears "Lab Partner (as seen on Dr Fauci)" mask]
Demand, Find and Keep Space (Holding Space): When do we demand our space? When does everything become something to everyone and not just a few? When can we claim the space it takes for us to grow and thrive? When do we stop listening to the nose that wants to fill every crevice and listen to the words that need to be heard? It’s hard to say. I think the thing is we are at the mercy of a few when the masses want and demand, more. It’s amazing to understand the concept of our power and to know how stifled it is by those fanning the flames of racism, fear and greed. Power that can and will be felt because if now is not the time then when? [Des wears "I Need Space" mask]
I’m Here - (Trying): Trying is hard. I do it. Sometimes because I know I have to and other times because I want to. I am honest enough with myself to know that and admit it. Trying is a choice. That’s something I’ve also learned. You can choose to try or you can choose not to - and for me there is no judgment either way. I know what it’s like to want to give up. I feel it everyday. [Des wears "Zodiac: Taurus" mask]
Covid 19 and Living with Me - (Mask Wearing): Maybe you don’t feel like you have to live your life in a way that is kind to others. I am not sure what to say to that. But maybe looking at wearing a mask as a kindness might soften your idea toward it since science didn’t seem to do the job. More and more I feel resentful. Let down. Alone in a forever fight over common courtesy. It feels unnecessary when right now we should be fighting with each other AGAINST this not with each other ABOUT this. [Des wears "Rainbo Batik" mask]
Maybe We Aren’t Afraid Anymore - (BLM): So many names can be shouted - names of the dead that should haunt the men’s dreams who killed them but instead haunt ours. Their names allow us to find strength. We watch as men, women and children are killed indiscriminately. We shout and cry as their murderers walk free because of a uniform on their back and a shiny piece of medal on their chests. We hurt and still understand that justice is something we all deserve, regardless of the color of our skin. [Des wears "Book Club" mask, "Slow N'Steady Sloth" (on her child) & Sport Service PE Mask (on her husband)]
Realizations and Accountability - (Anger and Illness): I try not to react from that place but lately it’s impossible for me to control. I don’t want to go into reasons why I am angry with the world but I can explain why I am angry with my situation. I have Lupus, an incurable autoimmune disease that’s complications will probably kill me and I’m pretty damn angry about it. I have fibromyalgia so I’m in pain constantly lately and this has robbed me of time with my family as I just wasn’t well enough to move from my bed, cook dinner or even have conversations. It makes me angry that something I can’t control has complete control over me. Don’t say it doesn’t, it does unfortunately. [Des wears Checked Out Collection in Sun gingham mask]
Six Months and Counting (BLM/Systemic Change): Six months has shown us just how much power we really had and how much power we can demand and deserve as humans and as citizens of this country. No one should feel as if their life is above anyone else’s and no offices of government should affirm that racist ideology. We are all equal and until we are treated that way, demanding that treatment is all we really have. So the last six months have shown us that demanding every damn day is exhausting, necessary and is what we will continue to do until everything changes. [Des wears "Wild Child in the 50s" mask]
What This Feels Like - (General Yuckiness): Those of us living this battle for the first time now see what power behind the racism, patriarchy and misogyny can do. We see what happens when there is power behind climate change deniers and people who don’t even feel the need to hide their true ugly faces. We understand the long-standing effects of a system designed to defeat, debase and dehumanize. We have now seen and experienced what an emboldened racist looks like when they are allowed to wield the power, and absorb the force, of the racists that dragged him to power in the first place. [Des wears "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" mask]
Vote - a definition —(A Tale of Two Presidencies): There is such a vast difference in presidencies of course. For some this is what they’ve always wanted, this false sense of power and control applauded by the highest office in the land. This giant leap backward into a time that had BIPOC living in a space that others created for us. A space that they constantly changed to keep us just a rung lower on any ladder of success, if we were even allowed on the ladder at all.
But the rest of us lived through the Obama administration and came away with something different. It wasn’t perfect and the best decisions weren’t always made, but admittance of fault is something we haven’t seen in the last four years from the Trump administration. Instead of blame, we saw acceptance that maybe just maybe the President was human. We were forever changed at the thought, then understood we were deserving of change, and hope. We as a whole people deserved the respect often given only to some. We were deserving too. [Des wears "Justice Collection: Power Fists" mask]