Kindred Spirits: Blue Ridge Edition 💃🏾

I am going into this week revived and rejuvenated! All thanks to the weekend that I spent in Blue Ridge, GA. My friend Dymond invited me on a trip, and although I said I would sit down to recuperate from my 2-week stint on the west coast, I couldn’t pass up the invitation 🤷🏾‍♀️ . I am so glad I didn’t because it turned out to be everything I didn’t know I needed. 

The weekend had so many memorable moments, and I am grateful for them all. One thing I know to be true is how essential it is to find kindred spirits in this world. What makes it more special is finding it in the spaces where society will have you believe it does not exist-amongst black women. 

People try to put us in a box, only viewing us as rehabilitation centers for trauma, strong individuals who can’t break, sex symbols, or angry women. They certainly don’t believe that we can get together and enjoy each other without drama. I am here to help dispel the narrative and share the complete opposite with you. 

I was invited into this group of dynamic women with open arms, love, and acceptance. It was like finding a home outside of my own. I have compiled my favorite parts of the weekend to share with you. 

Waiting to Exhale

In the presence of black women is where I know I will receive all that I need to show up in this world as my best self. They’ll bring understanding and laughter to the hardest of moments. In this world, we’re expected to uphold this strong woman persona. However, in spaces like this; we can unwind, take the mask off, and BE. We can share our honest feelings. Do you know what we receive in return? Love, validation, and encouragement. Normally, we struggle in silence out of fear of having our feelings dismissed. This weekend we brought all of them to the table. As we threw stories back and forth we confided in and encouraged each other. I am grateful for all I’ve learned from the women I shared space with this weekend. It was necessary to be able to exhale.

Name a better Hypeman!

I put my bathing suit on, and let me tell you, I have always been someone who tries to hide her body in a sense. I have a habit of wrapping a towel around myself to walk around or immediately looking for pants to cover up. It may stem from my upbringing in addition to self-acceptance. While I was busy doing that I noticed I was the only one. 

One of the things I wish was different about me is how I sometimes shrink instead of being my full authentic self. I “hide” out of fear of being “too much”. One of the girls saw me fidgeting with the pants and towel and was like, “girl if you don’t be free.” That really stuck with me. I was literally in a house full of women. I was safe. Yet, there I was trying to take up less space. Whether she knew it or not, she spoke words that allowed me to BE FREE, EMBRACE ALL OF ME, AND LOVE EVERY PART. 

See a sneek peek here! 🥰

I’ve had to learn that being naked is not a bad thing. I’m not solely talking about it in the physical sense either. Unveiling the most inner parts of you is no easy feat. Once you curate a safe space to be able to do so, it can really free you from things you’ve held onto for so long. It takes vulnerability to be naked physically, emotionally, and spiritually; once achieved it can be rewarding, therapeutic even. 

That experience alone encouraged me to take up as much space as my presence allows and not feel bad about it. My body is not something to be ashamed of; I live with it every day, and I refuse to go around any longer wanting to hide it out of fear of being “too much”. Special thanks to the ladies who encouraged me to a mini photoshoot and gassed me up the entire time 😂 . Your excitement was contagious!  

Black Women are Visionaries 

They see what you can’t see for yourself sometimes. Chile, Someone told me I look like a wife, and you know what…

We going to just stop right here for a praise break. Because… 🗣 YESSSSSSS MA’AM! YOU BETTER SPEAK OVER MY LIFE!!!! Lord, you heard them in the kitchen right? Alright, then let’s go ahead and deliver! Respectfully. 

We LOVE each other 

Don’t let these very much scripted reality shows fool you into thinking that drama is the norm. In real life, we care for each other. Nobody gets left behind. I watched one of the ladies with a headache go lie down. A few minutes later, tell me why another woman jumped up and was like, “alright let me go check and make sure she’s still breathing cause I don’t play about headaches.” You may think its small, but it changed the game for me!

Do y’all want to know how many times I sit and think to myself, who would notice if something happened to me if they just open the door and see me lying there? Like you got to get close up and monitor the breathing, I’m telling you. Put the hand in front of the nose and all just to test for airflow. I am determined to adopt this practice into my relationships going forward. It’s undebatable.  

Also, If you see me on the floor for whatever reason, the least you can do is cover me with a blanket and place the water bottle next to my head. These are all things I now require in my friendships. 

Queens of Comedy 

You won’t get a better comedy show I swear! One thing we are going to do is make a joke and laugh until the stomach cramps flare up, and even then, that won’t stop us. I absolutely love that for us! Now I can’t give you all the jokes because we’d be here all day, but know that I am laughing while typing this. If you want to experience it for yourself, try jumping into a room full of us. 

The Evolution of Friendships

First, let me say how much I love sleepovers. It sounds childish, but it’s something that excites me. I got to share a room with my friend (now we went to sleep at different times, but dammit I still was happy 😂 ). One of my favorite parts of the weekend was sitting on the couch talking to her. Throughout the weekend, I would go off into a daze thinking of how we got here to this moment. 

Dymond, is a friend turned sister that I met during undergrad. I have to tell you that life took us to different places after undergrad #LawyerBae 😉 , but one thing’s for certain the love we have for each other NEVER changed. We are a testament to friends not having to speak every day to know where they stand in each other’s lives. For me, it’s always a no-brainer, and when we would check in, It would be the highlight of my day. There’s also nothing I wouldn’t do for her, no matter how much time passes.  

To now be in the same city and living through our adult years together is enough to bring tears to my eyes. Witnessing how we’ve evolved as women into the things we dreamt of all those years ago… catapults me into my feelings. I stand in awe of her and how she knew exactly what she wanted and never faltered, and now she’s living in a lot of those manifestations. 

Dymond, I know that you read these blogs so I want to tell you that your friendship, your love, and the way you track me on Find My Friends mean the world to me! You are a consistent presence in my life, and although I fell asleep on the couch, just sitting there with you really made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Even in silence, there’s no better space. It’s just something about being surrounded by each other that is fulfilling. I would rather watch a movie with my friends sleeping all around me than watch it by myself. It’s just the way their presence adds to a room, even if they’re asleep, that makes all the difference.

I am so excited to be an active part of your life again. I’ll love you forever. I pray that God exceeds the expectations that you have for yourself. I pray that He blows your mind, giving you more than you desire in this life, because you are worth that and more. Even with all the accolades aside, you still are magic just by being you, and I want you to know that.

We all deserve to find Kindred Spirits that make our souls sing. I hope that you have them and continue to find them. I will continue to seek out these types of spaces. I also vow to continue to create this space for others.

Simply Janeen ❤️

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