Thank You New York!

But especially, thank you Brooklyn because you are my hometown, my roots and my badassery origins. I walked among you yesterday in New York City and Downtown Brooklyn; and it felt heavenly delicious to be surrounded by a vibrating, rolling sea, varying in shades of brown faces. Oh how I do miss you all when I’m away from city life!

Yesterday I took the bus into New York City from Pennsylvania to have more surveys completed for my book in progress. As I rode that bus, entering notes in my journal app, I was popping nowlater candies — we Brooklyn kids grew up saying nowlaters, never Now & Laters — one after the other into my mouth, tasting home, stoked with the anticipation of the city’s energy. The 8 am bus was filled with so many commuters, only a few had a two-seater to themselves (the commuter’s dream score!). As one of the last to board the bus, I ended up sitting next to a pretty, thirty-something Asian woman in a business suit, who turned her cell phone’s face away from me as if she were sharing its contents with an imaginary friend near her shoulder in the window. Or maybe she was texting with comrades, positioning to commandeer the bus for a hostage situation. Living in these times, you just never know. I wanted to tell her— Girrrl, keep your secrets, today I’m headed to the city to see my peeps!

And see them I did. A city awash in thousands of brown faces, when I stepped off that crowded bus into the even more crowded station of Port Authority Bus Terminal, the feeling of being home again was sweet relief as I stretched my legs, striding through the bus station like I owned it. My New York Peeps! I wish I could name or describe every one of you in shoutouts. I wish I could explain the way you each lifted me in your own unique way, the way you let me feel your energy and sit momentarily in your flavor. Even those of you who said no to being surveyed, even those of you with the earbuds plugged in, pretending not to hear me when I approached and said excuse me, figuring I would be averse to further, more direct rejection. It worked, I left you alone. But it didn’t stop me from delighting in your energy. I love you black women, I love you all so very much.

You in the red hoodie, middle-aged woman, sitting on a bench in Brooklyn, smiling deeply at me and my clipboard after looking so serious and distracted only moments before. Gosh! How we wall off from each other with our resting bitch-faces. But we each know the truth, which is this— underneath the serious facade lies the frequent exhaustion from all that we are juggling in our textured, layered lives. Whew! I feel you, black woman, I feel you. So Red Hoodie, now you have my card, let’s keep in touch!

To the woman with the pretty, pink, glittered nails and dark business suit — girrrrl! — I saw no teeth in that polite smile until we were about four questions in on the survey. All business reserved and black woman cool, I know that style, know its importance when sitting in a meeting, surrounded by other business people. But I felt your love and your good vibes, so thank you! And to the young lady with her arm in a sling who when the survey was done, gave me a hug. You melted my heart, thank you! To my newest interviewees who have agreed to share pieces of their experiences in the near future, thank you.

I have met so many beautiful women with giant, loving hearts over the last three months— from Pennsylvania, to New York and New Jersey. Not only are you crucial in helping give life to the content of my book, but you are also giving me life with your very essence. I SEE you, black women and after what has felt (so far) like a long life journey across dry, endless stretches of hot sand, you are to me, like a tall glass of icy water. This work in progress is exactly what I needed for this particular season, especially this time in our country, in the wake of this new presidency and political climate. Like you, I had been so busy with my head down all these years, living life, getting work done, taking care of business and family, I almost forgot about connecting with the rest of us.

And now I am recharged, re-energized and utterly excited to face every hidden corner and fleeting moment of each day life gives to us all. With more than 180 surveys done, ladies (every one of you surveyed, past and future interviewees, including the experts), in my head and heart, I am prostrate before you, my finger tips to your lovely toes, with much appreciation and thanks. Thank you so much for your smiles, your generosity, your encouragement and your love. I adore every one of you! I treasure your feedback and I will honor it with the best surrounding prose a woman like me — formerly broken and lost, currently brilliant and ass-kicking — can conjure.

Brooklyn and New York City, you are my forever home and I thank all of you!

P.S. This is me on the ride home at the day’s end. Yeah, I know, resting bitch-face. I was tired, my feet hurt and I was cold due to the air conditioning on the bus. But underneath the poker face you know I’m really just a happy chick who loves pink, is passionate about writing, and just spent the day doing what she does best, loving on dozens of beautiful black women.

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