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  • Jay


Updated: Jul 3, 2023

6:29p: “Friend. While I’m sure you’re in the mirror overthinking about whether you used the right edge control or something, you said 5 o’clock... It's 6:30! You got this, girl. You look fine! Let’s get cute and get gone!”

I had to laugh at her accuracy.

Weekends never feel long enough and when they arrive, Monday’s never feel real. I have to step outside my four walls occasionally to remind myself of which moments are my present. Disassociation is new for me, but I find that it’s recurring.

Tonight’s mission: to successfully reenter society as a functioning creative. I let the pain of my last relationship disrupt my momentum before; using this healing era of my life to win it all back is personal. The tears can no longer fall here and my main focus is reclaiming my energy and all of the things that make me feel like who I used to be again.

Following 3 hours of prep time, including a glass of Tarjay's Roscato red, a bathroom full of shuffled Fenty products, and Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides, I was feeling as ready as I'd ever be to greet the world again. My nerves were in overdrive. After having chained myself to this heartbroken identity for the last several months, there was no better time than now to piece my life back together and reintroduce myself to the social scene.

I walked towards the full-length mirror propped up by packed boxes in the hallway; and after one final view of my soft blue monochrome look - I took a deep breath, turned the doorknob, and was on my way. I repeated “you got this, girl” like an affirmation every step of the way.

While sashaying through the parking garage and across the busy street, I let out one of my first genuine laughs in over a year. Lei, one of my longtime girlfriends, was a modern-day Regine. She had an explosive personality, looks that broke necks, and comical punch lines for days. We meshed well together almost instantly all those years ago as we both shared the deepest love for the creative arts. Where I had poetry and all things writing, she had photography and painting. She was my soul sister who was indeed the Yin to my Yang.

This felt nice.

Being surrounded by energy that was uplifting while serving as a reminder of who I was… before trauma and heartbreak shattered my world. After a quick powder break and final outfit check at the restroom, we walked into the gala. I’m not sure if it was my mind playing tricks on me or if I really stunned the room, but I felt like several eyes immediately darted my way.

The affirmation from earlier began its lap around my anxiety; calming my spirit before I had the chance to turn back around. "You got this girl" I mumbled to myself between smiling teeth.

I was always "Virgoing", so my best friends developed a canny knack for interrupting my self-sabotaging thoughts before they got the best of me.

“You better work the room, girl! It’s a lot of fish in here! Let's go swimming!" I playfully glared at Lei. Two things she was going to do without fail were: one, make me laugh and two, everything she could to get me back on the dating scene. She always advocated against dumping all my eggs in one basket prematurely. Clearly, I’ve now gathered that I ought to rip a page from her book being that I’m 30-something years old with nothing to show for my dating efforts except a slew of failed attempts. I shook the daunting thoughts of love and gently reminded myself to remain in the present.

The DJ, nestled perfectly between the black books and merch displays had all heads nodding and body’s rocking while flawlessly creating the perfect atmosphere allowing for both art admiration, catching a vibe, and mingling. As we floated around the room viewing each stroke of genius, I felt their stories come alive. From one hungry artist’s hand to the next, their dedication to the craft was visibly evident. The paint strokes against the canvases sang to my soul like the legends of the Sirens who swam the oceans.

To have a passion that provides an escape from what America has conditioned us to believe we ought to do with 8-12 hours of the day was so pure and liberating. Connecting with so many gifted black creatives, ignited the flame in me that I thought had died out completely.

This experience... in this moment... oozing in all its black excellence reminded me that although I was in a delicate space, my art had its own story to tell. One that desperately needed to be heard. Like that of these beautiful paintings that hang on these walls, my words needed to be felt.

When I arrived home, I felt inspired. I placed Mos Def back on the record player and removed the growing pile of clothes from the desk area where I used to sit and write each night. Somewhere along the blurred lines, it became nothing more than a laundry table, but after tonight, I’m determined to revert it back to its intended purpose. I poured another glass of Tarjay's finest, opened my laptop, and let my thoughts free themselves.

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