BlackBox: When You’re Called

It was a warm spring day on the coast. The sun gently kissed my skin and the air was filled with the smell of ocean waves and freshly cooked food. The back deck of the restaurant eating area was filled with people, and there was a vibrancy that had been missing out in the world while everything was quietly on pause.

I sat at the table surrounded by friends, laughter booming while we caught up about life over fish tacos. We talked about everything, from relationships and family, to womanhood, to politics, and even race. There were five of us at the table, me and one other friend both black. As we laid out the state of race relations in our country, I felt a familiar hopelessness start to engulf me.

31 years old and still no resolution about being half black. That sense of inadequacy and separation was a running theme throughout my life as a mixed race woman, like my two sides would never be equal or understand one another.

Girl stop, that story is so played out.

That voice rose up from within me and pierced through all of the chatter in my mind. My delicate structures of self-pity and paralysis crumbled before my eyes. A realization set in: I am the one keeping the extraordinary nature of my blackness under wraps.

Right there at the table, we started to envision a world where Black was synonymous with power. Where we are a defining voice, rather than a defined one. Where we recognize our gifts and willingly contribute them. It’s a world where we know our value, first and foremost.

I got a glimpse into the woman I would become in the process of creating that world.

She is 100% comfortable in her skin, seated in herself with a steady knowing. She straddles the line between fierce and soft. She runs a massive amount of power through her body, she feels the pain most humans try to avoid.

Fear. Sadness. Anger. Pools of dark emotion spun into threads of gold that get weaved into the world.

Feel all of it. Use it. Create with it.

There was a lonely quality too. The space between feeling emotions fully and funneling them into something is a lot like standing in a dark room, alone. It’s still and quiet. You feel a closeness with all parts of yourself. That spaciousness registers as loneliness. It’s the journey to the soul.

I walked out of the restaurant with this vision imprinted into my heart. Some days I run towards it. Some days I collapse in the face of it. Some days I forget it entirely. But I can never unsee it. I can only return to it.

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