Back Like I Never Left
I read a cover story interview ages ago of Kerry Washington, from the September '16 issue of "Self" Magazine. Her words resonated with me then, they still do, and I wanted to share:
"A few weeks ago, my manager asked: 'Do you feel like you're back? I feel like you're back.' She meant it as a total compliment, but we had this great conversation where I was like, 'You know what? I try really hard not to use that language, because it's not about going backward in life.' I think it comes from this culture of anti-aging, which is so not loving to ourselves."
"I've been really focused on not being 'back' to anything, but being the best version of myself right now."
This resonated with me so deeply, and it really challenged me to the way I've been taught to think, and the societal pressures women face, in literally every aspect of our lives.
I've always been a pretty adaptable person. Having grown up all over the country, I've had no choice but to adapt to new environments, the closing of chapters, saying ‘goodbye,’etc. I've never been stuck to one place, person, or thing. I've always taken things for what they were, and moved forward, unconcerned about the past.
Now, with that said-- I didn't realize that wasn't common-thinking until I was in college, when old friends would 'reminisce' about high school, and wish they could do it all over again, or wish they could go back to prom, or that they were the same weight they were in 2012, etc. etc. I never understood that type of thinking, and to be honest, I find it to be pretty problematic, especially for women.
Why are we so focused on a time, that literally will never come back? Why not accept the place you're at now, and love on yourself as hard as ever? I know it's easier said than done, but ladies, YOU ARE ENOUGH. Lemme say that again-- YOU, ARE, ENOUGH. Your complexion is enough, your hips are enough, your heart is enough, your hair is enough. You existing is enough, and it is VERY powerful, while also VERY detrimental to a lot of these boxes and social structures that have been created to limit and contain us.
Now, I want to be honest and open up to you as to WHY I stopped blogging. When I got into blogging, it was purely on the intent of creative expression. I started my blog at a time when I graduated and couldn't find a job because, the market crashed. I was living at home, working as a waitress, and just living my unfulfilled life (smh lol). I created the blog for myself, to continue writing, as I had in college, and to talk about things I was interested in! I always wanted my readers to leave with something fulfilling, as I had seen loads of bloggers solely talk about their outfits with a Starbucks latte in their hand (hey, if that's your brand, then I ain't mad... But that ain't me).
A couple years back, our political climate started to shift majorly, and as tensions heightened between the police and the Black & Brown people being targeted (being more exposed by the media and social media/online avenues each day), I wanted to use my platform to express my anger, my concern, my disappointment, and engage with my readers and fellow bloggers on how they felt. Things were happening at an increasing rate, and I didn't even have the photo stock to post as frequently as events were happening. Because of this, I took to twitter. I feel like twitter is the place you can go tf awf and I was expressing, projecting, engaging... I even took to my personal FB account to do the same as well. And in that time, I was seeing my fellow bloggers (POC's & NON-POC’s) continue to post about their lattes, and their outfits, and their basic days (no tea no shade), without a whisper as to what was happening in the world that they were living in!
I found this hella confusing and disappointing, and it really turned me off to blogging. I found it to be such a fake world of women and men thirsty for clicks, endorsements, and followers, without a consciousness of humanity and lack of responsibility to use their platform to actually engage their readers, outside of their need to selfishly project the perfect imagine of themselves, omit of what makes them human- their emotions, their beliefs, their concerns…
I unofficially left blogging because I didn't want to be associated with these people, and this online world that we've collectively created... I do believe language matters and words matter, and to have a platform online, I think it is vital to have intention when writing; seeing that the bigger bloggers literally had nothing to say, turned me all the way off.
I still don't see that voice in blogging, and I actually unfollowed a lot of people in the blogsphere because of this. I'm back to be a voice, as I have been on my twitter and Instagram, and will not bite my tongue any longer on this platform, that I originally fell in love with, those years ago. I've had some amazing things happen since my last post, at the end of 2014. I've gone on a world-tour with Sam Smith and Stevie Wonder. I've performed on nearly every major day and evening show in the US (multiple times, with various artists), performed at the Grammys, sung with some of my favorite artists, including John Legend and Mary J. Blige. I've seen parts of the world that I prayed about visiting, and met people and had experiences I will never forget!
I've also had some lows, like terrible money management, having to go back into the hustle of being a server at a restaurant (because I wasn't able to sustain myself solely on music work). I would ask my self everyday how much longer was I gonna allow myself to stay in this place (working in a restaurant will take you out, even if it's one where you're making great money like I was), and just feeling the sense that I was losing myself creatively and getting lost in the concrete jungle. I also feared that I was gonna look up and three years have passed me by, and I'm still here slanging chicken parm and pasta pomodoro. Getting off of a world-tour and assimilating into the more traditional work-force was hard. Hard for my ego, hard for my emotions… I at first, was able to sustain myself for awhile off tour-earned money, but then it got too hard to do-so. Working in the music industry, gigs come and go. There are also dry seasons and really popping seasons, as there are months that I was trying to figure out how to juggle all these gigs, and months I had to make sure my phone was working, because it was as dry as a tumbleweed!
Fortunately, I’ve been able to find a bit more balance over much trial & error, and when I left the service industry (for the second time), I told myself, it was for good.
As Kerry said, "...Trying to be my best right here right now... Looking to the present and the future, and looking forward to changing and growing and becoming, instead of how I was in the past." I am committing to myself, committing to using my platform to spread love, my music to express my passions and interests, to highlight amazing women creatives of color who don’t get the recognition they should, to talk beauty, skincare, self-care, and wellness… Talk politics and current events, and everything in between! Our interests lie in many avenues, as we’re multi-dimensional women, ok! We can spill ALL the tea! Ha!
The truth is, I miss connecting with you all here, and I am making the commitment to be open and honest, talking here about real things, real life, and providing this site as a safe environment for you to feel comfortable in doing so as well! I hope that you will stay on this journey with me, as I share my life as a professional musician, a woman, a Black woman, and most important of all, a human being!