First off, welcome to 2019. Second, welcome back to Finding Fenix. If you’ve been following along with my ramblings over the past few years, you’ll notice that ya girl made a few changes to the look and feel of Finding Fenix. Plus, peep that big purple logo at the top–ya girl is a BRAND. I talked about expanding Finding Fenix and being more consistent but I could never seem to follow through. It might be a month and a half into the New Year, but so far, I’m crushing my goals by investing in myself, my talent, my ambition, and most of all, my Brand. For those asking–don’t worry, there will be merch coming soon–it’s in the works. If you’re new here, take a minute to poke around–you might find something you can relate to.
Now that we’ve gotten the formalities out-of-the-way, let’s get back to business. In honor of Black History Month, I’d like to share my own journey to what is now called “Wokeness.” I haven’t always loved my copper-brown skin or these 4B-prone-to-shrinkage-and-dryness-curls. There was a time where for most of my life, I wanted to be white. Because in my head, being white meant I could be accepted, normal (whatever the hell that even means), and successful. It would have meant less struggle. I don’t want to repeat myself, so do us both a favor and go back and read my thoughts on this in my post “Just Because You Can Get a Seat at the Table, Doesn’t Mean You Should Sit There.”
Crazy, huh? To grow up in a world where you don’t feel–or know how to appreciate your Blackness and its Magic. I love my family, and some parts of the city I was raised in, but both severely stunted my Black Girl Magic growth. I remember being told as a kid that I “can’t do everything your lil’ white friends do” and God forbid if I EVER brought a white boy home. (Don’t worry, GrandDad–I tried it once–it didn’t work out.) I was taught to love my people but also to be cautious of white people. In short, my childhood consisted of being confused AF about my blackness and the constant battle between my inner thoughts and the Auntie Tom I was raised how to be.
I spent so much of my childhood fighting what I felt inside as a little Black Girl and what people around me told me I should be like. I didn’t grow up listening to Motown or going to all Black functions that weren’t held at a church where we praised White Jesus. I missed out on all the greatest parts of 90s Hip-Hop & R&B. I relaxed my hair so much that it was short and stringy and falling out. Like, why did we do that, Ma? That shit burned my scalp. And I STILL have nightmares about that dreaded hot comb and that damn Blue Magic Grease.
I was 21 years old when I realized that I, a Black Woman, was beautiful. This was also around the time where I sort of had my first major mental breakdown, but in retrospect, I chalk it up to the ReBirth. The Phoenix of my Mind knew what was up and what needed to happen for me to be where I am today. I decided to go Natural because I missed the curls I hadn’t seen since I was five years old and I wanted to rebel. When a woman changes her hair, she changes her life. Lessons I learned from my Grandmother and her wig collection.
I started researching as much Black Culture as I could. I searched for all the things I missed in my adolescence. I stopped trying to fit my thickness into the likes of Forever21 and Charlotte Russe. I invested in some leggings because they seem to be the only thing to properly fit my waist, hips, and thighs. If you know where to find some good jeans, Sis, let me know. I’m still struggling.
The Natural Hair Community is so beautiful in that everyone is amped to see some kinky coils. We all wanna know what products are in your regimen and how much conditioner you go through in a week because let me tell you, shit ain’t cheap, bruh. At all. I noticed that when I started going out in public with my curls in the wind, black women I swear I have never noticed started talking to me. Could it have been that I made myself so white-washed that I was invisible to the very women I wanted to be chill with? Seems like it.
I was 26 years old when I realized how much Power I hold as a Black Woman. I figured out why we are so heavily stereotyped and why we are feared as we are. We ARE magic. Literally. The glow of our skin, the shape of our hips, and the flow of our hair (outward and upward) prove this to be true. We grow up and out like roses in a garden. We capture the Sun in our pores and spread our energy like the Wind. Our Ancestors were LightWorkers and Healers. So I find solace in Crystal Energy and Sage. How I ever grew up not understanding Erykah Badu’s outlook on life…chile I don’t even know.
Whenever I’m out in public, and I see another black woman around, I feel at ease. I think it’s the hair. A few months ago, I was at the laundromat just folding clothes as usual when I hear “Sis.” I look to my right and it’s this older black woman washing a few white shag rugs. I look up and reply “huh?” And she goes on to ask, “Don’t this look like white people shit?” I hit with a smile and a “yeah, kinda.” She says: “I thought so. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought these. They looked better in the store.” And then we both went back to quietly folding our laundry. There is an unspoken language between certain types of black woman. She and I spoke the same language. The term “Sis” has been used in other references but amongst black woman–we mean Sis as in we are all Sisters in Womanhood. As in, I got you, Sis. That is the Magic of the Black Woman.
It has taken nearly my entire lifetime to know myself and my culture. I had to learn how to be Black. I had to learn to appreciate myself and other black woman around me. I’ll forever compliment black woman I see in passing. Somebody gotta look out for Us. Who better than us?
Repeat after me: Wakanda Forever.