Summer you owe me nothing. After spending more than a year in quarantine, I sat home dreaming of all of the things that I thought twice about doing, but never had the chance to during lockdown. I believed it could wait until tomorrow. One thing that I’ve learned about living through a pandemic is that tomorrow truly isn’t promised. Don’t wait to do the thing. Get out of your damn head. And just live your life. It is that simple.
I spent the summer feeding my soul with experiences, people, and great food every second, minute, hour, and day I had to just enjoy being alive. If “we outside” was a person, it would have been me this summer. The streets were calling me, so I answered. I celebrated my birthday with close friends at an intimate soirée that I produced myself with bottomless bottles of bubbly and delicious tapas. My first charcuterie board made its debut. She was cute! I definitely drunk an entire bottle of Mary J Blige’s Sun Goddess wine and told my friends I loved them a million times and probably over indulged my true feelings because liquid courage is a thing. I meant every word. On my birthday, I smiled from ear to ear being in the presence of such inspiring women who live life unapologetically. My friends are either mirrors or complimentary to the woman I am becoming.
This past summer I was blessed to take a month sabbatical. After living at work during the pandemic, I had so much vacation time in the vault ready to be activated. So, I decided to take time to recharge and to live my life. I spent the first week of my vacation mentally wrapping my head around: no meetings and responding to emails in record breaking amounts of time. Week two I kicked off my travels and visited New York City for the first time in over a year. I was pleasantly surprised to see New York streets quieter and slower than usual. I attended my first pandemic live show at the Blue Note to see jazz musician Keyon Harrold. That night the music and the people of NYC wrapped me in their arms. Of course, everyone was masked because covid was and still is alive and well. I dined out every night and roamed the streets of LES and SoHo until I could no longer walk in my fashion forward shoes which gave me the most blisters on my toes that I have ever experienced. Yikes!
After my trip to NYC, I booked a last minute flight and traveled solo to Aruba. This much needed island getaway was surprisingly delightful. Aruba is not my favorite place to travel, but it was the safest option and one of the few places that welcomed tourists into their country with open arms. While in Aruba like all of my travels I like to dance to the beat of my own steel pan. There was no itinerary. I woke up when I wanted and took several food and heat coma naps. Again, I did what gave me life: took a private dance lesson on the beach, spent time in and near the water, dined at reservation only restaurants and ate whatever the hell I pleased without self judgment, went on a mural tour featuring local artists, and took myself on a sunset cruise. This trip was a gift to myself. Happy birthday to me!
What also brought me life? Detroit. That city despite its economic challenges has so much life and Black pride. I truly felt at home there. I felt seen. There are not only Black people there, but African Americans who live our culture out loud in a way that I don’t see often in Boston. Detroit has a special way of greeting and embracing other Black folx when they pass you on the streets. Detroit natives line danced / stepped outside of Bert's Marketplace like no one else is watching. I ate the greasiest fried fish and macaroni and cheese from Bert’s too. I have no regards. I witnessed Detroit artists beautify their city by welcoming other artists from around the world to collaborate on the city’s first Black led mural festival. Shoutout to the BLKOUT Walls crew. I traveled to Detroit with a few of my girlfriends to support my friend Sneha, a phenomenal muralist who is photographed below. Ain’t she a beauty? She is also beast at her craft too. This trip solidified friendship. This trip solidified community. This trip also opened me to love. D-town i’ll be back soon… Curious to learn more about my trip? Check out my piece published in Fodor Travel.
My last week of summer was spent in Martha’s Vineyard with my aunt and grandmother. The adult woman in me needed this quality time with a couple of the living and breathing matriarchs in my life. We stayed in a a cozy bed and breakfast directly across the street from the Inkwell. Each morning I woke up to the sunrise. I heard the sounds of the Polar Bears who gather in the water as a tradition honoring liberation and joy for Black women on the island. My eyes welled up with tears watching them submerge their beautiful, free black bodies in the water. Watching them take up all of the damn space in a place where they were once not welcome filled me with immense pride. If that is not what you call a beautiful black resistance, I don’t know what is…This past year I have experienced extreme loss with the passing of family members who were beautiful women who poured into me. RIP Auntie Lisa and Cousin Gail. They deposited so much love and wisdom in my life. These women embodied strength. I miss them everyday. The grief isn’t easy, but their voices in my head are guiding me and their spiritual hugs are tender.
As the last day of summer comes to a close, I welcome a new season with the same openness. I vow to myself to continue to live with intention. I welcome continued ease into my life. I vow to just live without hesitation. I welcome a new rebirthing of my mind, body, and spirit. I vow to love wholeheartedly in this season of my life.
Again, summer you owe me nothing…