Is This Mic On?

Thursday May 17th, 2018. I rushed through the door, dropping keys and bags to race to the bathroom. Happens every day. Didn’t drop my phone though. I have a bad habit of spending too much time on my porcelain throne browsing social media way after my digestive system has done its work.


All of a sudden, a message shows up in my DMs from Feminessay. I’d been following them for a while and wondered what they could possibly be talking to little ole me about. First thing I read was that their editor in chief was Guyanese.


Kin.


And she lives in Boston. Word! Second thing was that they wanted me to submit a piece for

publication.


Wait, me?


It took me a while to convince myself I hadn’t misread, and with doubt still lingering in my mind I

agreed. Simultaneously, my thoughts went into overdrive. Do I talk about where I’m from? About my family? Talk about the slight disconnect and feelings of not quite fitting in as a Black person in America that’s not African or American? Do I talk about my business, Foundrie?


Nah, too obvious. Hmmm.


I kept thinking as I preliminarily scanned Feminessay’s website for more information on what they’re about and any clues to focus my overload in ideas. They are all about narratives, expression, and they quoted Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie!?


Okay, okay. Maybe I can talk about my experience being a black woman in the corporate world that I don’t quite fit into but a world I still depend on to pay the bills and grow my business. My head still hurt from the day’s long winded meetings and biting email chains. Ugh. How do I decide?


And there it was. This is it. My chance to say... literally... everything.


For so long I’ve had so much to say, and I haven’t really said any of it. I’m sure this thought has been widely discussed by many before. I’m sure you’re reading this already guessing what I’m going to say today. And with that brief foray into my thoughts on overdrive, you probably assume you know the rest. You might be right. But listen sis, I don’t care.


We’ve all had conversations about feeling muted and stamped out as Black women in America. Too angry, too sexual, too soft, too much.


As I grew older I’ve worked on being more vocal in standing up for myself, my values, and people around be but am so often tempered. “It’s not that deep”. The struggle of trying to be heard over louder, deeper voices. Worse yet, the stinging response of indifferent silence.


Chibeep. Chibeep. (What crickets actually sound like. Ask a Haitian.)


After a while, eh I just started talking to myself. My therapist says it’s healthy. (If you don’t have one, try and get one. If you don’t already talk to yourself, what’s wrong with you? Jk. Kinda.)


I’ve written in my journals over the years about feeling misunderstood, under appreciated, and overworked. So many poems. Bleh. And it’s not like I don’t have a community to share my ponderings with (all words are made up, that one needs no correction, gracias).


My friends know my stories, my testimonies. The time a car accident and sepsis almost took me out the game. Being called a nigger by cowards behind the closed doors of their vehicles. Being called a nigger to my face.


The ins and outs of realizing I have daddy issues, only for daddy to get Alzheimer’s, forget who I am for real, and then pass away without the peace of reconciliation. The ups and downs accomplishments and setbacks of climbing corporate ladders. The ever-rising glass ceilings. Grasping for ancestral straws using services catered to the way more traceable white identity. The building up of my post graduate education only to realize where I really belong and the much harder attempt to build up my own business to funnel my passion instead. Not having enough time or resources to research what black history was prior to the 1500s and the slave ships it brought. Knowing there’s definitely something to that. The joyful and tearful moments packaged with this thing called love. Realizing credit scores, our general aversion to swearing, and daylight savings make zero sense.


You know, basic shit.


But EYE (fight me) have never been able to shout my blessings, pains, hopes, realizations, and disbeliefs from the digital mountaintop of the interwebs. And now, thanks to Feminessay, I’m doing it.


Will you read? I guess so. Will you continue? I really hope you do, but who knows. Either way, as I continue to submit my soul to this platform at whatever frequency they desire, at least I know passersby will catch a glimpse into my bursting thoughts. And even if they don’t stay till the end or come back for more, I know one thing at the very least: I’m talking out loud, and it’s finally okay.

--


Rissa, 31, is CEO, designer and lead visionary at Foundrie. A creative at heart, she founded an online boutique in 2015, selling handmade Afrocentric jewelry. Her love for creation and discovery grew with each new piece, and so she and her team are currently rebranding and expanding the business. Foundrie will officially launch in spring of 2019 as a dynamic fashion and fine jewelry line intensely inspired by narratives of the African Diaspora. Each season will bring new styles and new stories to be celebrated, shared, and retold through our fashionable customers in order to collectively reshape society's adaptive subconscious.


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