Sha’Carri is still #ThatGirl.

Almost every Black woman has been Sha’Carri Richardson, whether she’s willing to admit it or not.

Most of us learn very early and in very harsh ways that we have to be perfect to win.
That when you’re born with two “strikes” you don’t hand anyone a gift-wrapped third.

Especially when you’ve been raised and trained to be #ThatGirl.

As disappointing as this is for her, learning you can’t always out run certain choices is also part of growing up.

So is learning that often our only competition and the realest threat to our success is no one but ourselves.

So is learning the hurdles are always higher for us.

So is learning sometimes life will break your heart to see how you respond.

Especially when you are #ThatGirl.

So I’m not judging her.
Not for this, or for her nails, her lashes, or her hair.
None of those things kept her from literally smoking everyone else.

Do you know how hard it can be to propel yourself forward when obstacles real and invisible tell you to stop?
To perform at your very best with all eyes on you, dissecting your skin, your face, your hair, your stride, your name, your voice?
Looking for any reason to name why you don’t belong?
Or making up a reason, when none appears?
On top of surviving your biological mother’s death and a pandemic?

Many of us have failed in settings we thought we were ready to succeed in because we had habits, associations, baggage or beliefs, or made choices that eventually disqualified us.

Or maybe how we learned to cope with vaulting ourselves over and beyond racism, sexism, perfectionism, grief, pain, pressure, trauma, doubt, disappointment, stress, heartbreak, fear or anxiety held us back, slowed us down, triggered us or tripped us up.

Still think Naomi Osaka should force herself to do press conferences?

It happens to the best of us.
It happens to all of us.

The only thing that matters is how you recover.
That you get back in your race,
And run it.

Your latest Quarantine Update finds me exhausted, 40 pounds lighter and in a contemplative mood:

I am complete but never finished. I have a lot to say, but not a single thing to prove. It took me a long time to figure that out.

This has been an incredibly difficult year but despite the fear, grief, helplessness, stress, and sadness I’ve felt since March, I’ve tried to focus on gratitude for its many joys: an abundance of love…knowing that I am divinely cared for…joining BBVA and seeing the power of words during simultaneous crises…being heard all over on NPR…the Barbie piece…being accepted into a competitive writing workshop…and finally growing my hair to my bra strap. (The pandemic has not reduced my vanity.) As for the rest: I’m enduring and surviving it. With God’s help, I’ll make it.

Despite so much uncertainty, I’m at peace with myself. And I’m looking forward to the best that is sure to come.

Love, Alexis

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Sally Forth

Brewton Blueberry sticker

“You’re from that dirty swamp water,” a used-to-be used to tell me. I’m sure he meant it to be endearing but it always got my Davis-Crawford-Hill-Barton pride up. I’m fiercely proud of where I’m from. It’s why I shout out Blueberry Hill, Brewton, The Dirty 30 and Lower Alabama whenever I can and would not want to be from anywhere else.

Lots of lives, free and otherwise, had to survive much more treacherous waters in crossing from the African continent or setting sail from England, Scotland and France to land in and leave or escape South Carolina, Texas and Louisiana to come through Central and South Alabama to meet precisely in Brewton, Alabama for me and mine to be here.

It is a place I am ashamed to say I spent a long time wanting to get away from, in favor of places with more to see, more to do, people who didn’t know my life story, who wouldn’t report my whereabouts to the nearest relative.

It’s the place I now know offered me the best preparation for going anywhere else. It’s the only place that has genuinely welcomed me home, first when I was young and foolish, then when I was older (and a little less so).

My heart breaks right now, for home. For Mobile, where proud, grand oaks older than time have been plucked from the earth, roots exposed. For Pensacola, submerged. For the people I love and for those of us from and tied to these places who know pieces of ourselves have been snatched up from their foundations.

Our roots ravaged.

That dirty water—from Murder Creek to Mobile Bay to the Great Gulf Coast—is our lifeblood. It’s where we get our strength from, our rhythm, our blues, our peace of mind. It’s where we are washed clean, and where we are nourished. I see my way clearest when I cast my line into its dark depths, and I am grounded by its sand, mud and clay under my feet. In my heart of hearts I am caught in its net somewhere under the Dolly Parton Bridge, even as I have been flung into the wide world from its Florabama shoreline.

Always will be.

Sally can’t wash us out.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, And through the rivers, they will not flood over you.” -Isaiah 43:2 a, b

Yes, things have changed.

We’re over it.

No matter where you are reading this, I know to some degree what you may have experienced over the last nearly six months.

You may be working from home.

You probably are wearing a mask when you leave your home. (I hope.)

Your socializing has been curtailed.

You pay much, much more attention to cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting your home, car, groceries and self. You’re social distancing, and Zooming, and you’ve probably danced in Club Quarantine with D-Nice at least twice.

You either know someone who has had or died COVID-19. You may have been tested for it or had it yourself. And if not, maybe it’s consumed your thoughts. You wish life would go back to the way it was while knowing it will never, ever be that way again.

Same.

So I don’t feel comfortable sharing outfit posts or “lifestyle tips” anymore, not even on quarantine couture or my process for safely grocery shopping. It feels tone deaf and privileged in a way that is extremely narcissistic and gross in its attention-seeking. It was fun while it lasted but it doesn’t reflect what I spend most of my time thinking about or doing, or who I am. And honestly: it never did, outside of showing you a carefully curated slice of who I am and what I enjoy.

But I do want to acknowledge this space as a place to remember exactly what this time is like, in a way that feels appropriate. I do want to document how we carry on. If no other phrase accurately describes this time for me, “same chic different day” does—although my brand of chic is leaning toward cut off shorts, house slippers and lots of self care (reading, running, and praying) in solitude.

So I’ll resume posting periodically, but they may not look like anything I’ve done before (as you probably have already noticed).

But I’m still here. And if you’re reading this, so are you. That’s something to be extremely thankful for. For today what I want you to know is: I hope you’re safe and well. Mask on, and mask up.

Alexis

The Irony

Ohhhhhhhh—

Be juuuuust the right shade of light and dark
With natural hair that looks like weave
Or weave that looks like it’s your natural hair
Be ambitious at work but domestic at home
Honest but not direct
Smart, but not smarter than you
And never smart enough to see through you
Beautiful, but not in a way that outshines you
A workhorse who doesn’t try too hard
Be over 18 but look forever 21
Be a contender but not a threat
Be an asset but don’t ever expect reciprocity
Have a lot to offer but be willing to accept the least and last
Curvy but only in the right places
Strong enough to hold you down but ready to also be your doormat
Holy but down for whatever
A “real” woman, but not the kind with periods
Or empty wombs
A perfect lady but a ‘round the way girl
Well-dressed but not materialistic
Speak up but don’t be outspoken
Assert yourself but wait your turn
Get paid but, you know, not in an equitable manner
Of childbearing age but not with too many children or baby daddies
Independent enough not to ask for your financial support but submissive
Desired and desirable but not for the streets
Eloquent but careful of how we talk to you
Pro-Black but not militant
Refined but God forbid bougie
Down to earth but definitely not country or ghetto
Available but never thirsty
Untouchable but not frigid
Well-maintained in an effortless way…but not high maintenance of course
Well-read and awake but not vocal or opinionated
Ready to lead as long as you go first or determine the vehicle, destination, direction and speed
Equal
but
not…

Got it.

Thanks
but
no thanks.

Credit: @idontdoclubs via Facebook

I get it from my Mama.

Dress: Chi Chi London |Shoes: JIMMY CHOO |Hair: Camisha Rivers Hunter

Makeup: Dangshawtybeat

 

 

Fab Finds at Bargain Carousel

It’s time for one of my favorite shopper-tunities:  Bargain Carousel!

A 1000-family garage sale, Bargain Carousel has been labeled the “largest garage sale in Birmingham.” Through member donations, Bargain Carousel provides shoppers with quality items, including many of life’s necessities, at very affordable prices.  In return, proceeds are returned directly to the Birmingham community through the Community Projects the Junior League of Birmingham supports.

It takes over 7,000 volunteer hours to produce Bargain Carousel, and there will be over 100,000 items for sale! Find out more at http://bargaincarousel.net/.

You can shop for a fabulous cause ahead of the rush at Bargain Bash on Thursday, April 25. Bargain Bash offers exclusive access to all the merchandise that will be sold at Bargain Carousel. Enjoy fabulous food and tasty beverages from local businesses, incredible auction items and private shopping at bargain prices.  Be a part of this wonderful night as the Junior League of Birmingham raises awareness and funds for its 38 community projects, which have made a positive impact on the Birmingham community for over 96 years.   (Items purchased at Bargain Bash are double the price marked during the weekend sale.)

TIPS: Get there early, wear comfortable shoes and bring a big tote or cart!

Check out some of my favorite finds from this year’s sale!

Want to go? Comment “Send me to bargain Carousel!” on this post, or on the associated posts on Instagram (@samechicdifferentday) and SCDD’s Facebook page!

Happy Shopping!

The Princess

Dress: BCBGMAXZRIA | Mask: eBay | Shoes: Liliana | Brooch: Chanel

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