Friday, December 25, 2009
A few weeks ago I woke up and realized that I am the person that I wanted
to be when I was thirteen.
At thirteen my closest friend was Fancy and we were in middle school together
in East Oakland. We were nerdy, and skinny, not what the streets want, no?
If the library had it we read it. I was partial to all the Judy Blume's,
Beverly Cleary's, Sweet Valley High's and when I found Walter Dean Myers
I was home.
We traded library books and Sassy issues the way 8 year old boys traded
We rode that Emporium Capwells basement in downtown Oakland like
a Long Island Outlet mall the day after Christmas.
It was through my friendship with her that I saw how people treated
brown skinned Black girls. In some ways we learned how to negotiate
our femininity together.
By 15, we discovered Berkeley's Telegraph avenue, clothing stores, book stores,
used record stores, natural hair, sewing and fashion magazines. While I liked
The Source magazine, more than Seventeen, we both shared our love of the glossies.
In many ways I became myself in that era, or at the very least the ground was being
set for me to claim it in high school.
She was always more of an alternative head than me, putting me on to Neneh Cherry
and being the first Black person that I ever knew to bump Alanis Morissette.
Our goal was to become Fresh Girls.
Fresh girls were natural, maybe wrote graffiti (or was at least cool with the crew
with the most ups), were smart, had cute clothes, some of which they made
and their own style.
After middle school, I left Oakland to go to high school in 'Frisco,
and a little after that she moved back East. We had a plan for her to move
to NY to model and design clothes and I would go to college and
design clothes, sell vintage clothes or write and just be AROUND hip hop.
I move to NY for school and she got married and had a baby, and for a hot minute
I was like dude, what happened to our plan? Being young and immature
I had a resentment.
Now that I am older I realize that all women have to make choices about
baby dreams vs. career dreams, especially when we live in society that needs
children, yet refuses to support the people who are implicitly charged with raising
I also now realize how much of a gift it is to think of something at 14 and actually
be able to do it 4 years later.
Back then I wanted to be nappy, be around Black art, eat good food and read
Three weeks ago I realized that I am in fact this person.
I get to be nappy, write about Black women and pop culture (and my relationships)
and have the things that I say be taken seriously by my blog readers and my professor's
and this is awesome.
I googled Ms. Fancy a couple of weeks ago and found out she wasn't that far from me.
In a twitter conversation with @prisonerswife I talked about how I wanted to say
something, but I didn't want to come out the blue and the last few years of my life
have taught me to leave well enough alone when it comes to people. I try to live by
if it don't fit don't force it. This isn't hallways successful. I try to realize that people
will be bothered when they want to be, otherwise I should leave them be.
@prisonerswife responded saying something along the lines of, "people say things
like that just because they don't want to step up" and I was like, "I'm pretty much a courage
bear. If God wants me to be in contact with her, we will cross paths."
Ms. Fancy Facebooked me Tuesday.
Merry Christmas. Woot.