On Growth

@ Black Girl Glitter, 2017 #subdued selfie

You wouldn’t know it by looking at this picture, but it represents a particularly tumultuous time in my life. And why am I writing about this today? Because Facebook sent me one of those ‘remember this?’ moments in my timeline and it made me reflect on where I am now.

This picture was taken July 2017 at the Black Girl Glitter event held at Tightfisted Fashion in Baltimore. This image is emblematic of my taking a first step into single life during a time in which I was still deeply hurt. I was fresh single, only five weeks into what felt like my new dystopian life post break-up, when I decided I had to force myself to be social. I was 41 and just out of a relationship that had lasted a little over a decade, I was afraid of succumbing to my grief. Yes I cried. Yes I talked about the break up incessantly to my friends for a time. But all the while I was also challenging myself to put one foot in front of the other, and forcing myself to go out and socialize. The big difference for me, was doing it alone. I always felt like I had to have a friend with me at all times, like a security blanket, and if they couldn’t come I wouldn’t go.

Black Girl Glitter was my first evening social event where I did not bring a friend. The invite encouraged us to wear something sparkly, so I threw on my black thrift store dress spotted with rhinestones, and my favorite pair of black sequin Converse. On my way to the event I called my homegirl Brenda. She congratulated me on stepping out solo, and I marveled at the fact that I was leaving the house at 8pm on a Saturday to go out to a social event (not the norm for me since my mid-30s).

When I got there I walked slowly up to the rowhouse where the event was being held. I was super nervous, but when I arrived there was just mad positive energy. A girl I knew from school was performing her poetry. She introduced me to another dope poet. The DJ spun some nostalgic tunes, and kept us on the dance floor. Next thing I know all of us were dancing together in all our glittery splendor in the clearing between racks of vintage fashions rapping to Lil Kim’s, Crush on You. It was a beautiful thing.

Things don’t just happen by chance. Black Girl Glitter being my inaugural solo event meant something. I am grateful for that night. I am grateful for my family and friends; they have shown me the lengths they will go to, to ensure I know I am loved. I am grateful for discovering that I actually like to do some things alone, like go to a museum, a movie, or sit at a bar. I am grateful for having allowed myself to feel the ache of a love lost. I am grateful for taking the time I needed to reflect, to look inward, and to be honest about ways in which my behavior could have been hurtful in that relationship. I am grateful that I have friends and family who hold me accountable. I am grateful for the bountiful new opportunities that have come way. Most of all I’m grateful that I woke up today.

So in a way that above image represents the beginning of a stage in my life that led to what you see below, me in June 2019. It might look like the same pose but there’s a playfulness I see. The woman in the picture below recognizes her worth both personally and professionally, and that inner work has paid off. The marathon continues.

During my hosting gig @ Writers & Words, photo cred: Maria Goodson

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