Safe Spaces

Today marks the four-year anniversary of this blog. I wanted to write something moving and deeply personal, but these words will have to suffice:

I don’t know that you can say the phrase “safe space” anymore without derision in your voice. It’s come to be (in some circles) a short cut for describing a padded-room insulated in bubble wrap where spoiled, whiny millennials go in order to protect their fragile feelings from “mean words” (also known in said circles as racism). That’s totally not the way that I mean it though (nor the way it’s meant, but I won’t get on that track today).

A Safe Space for me is somewhere I can go to figure out my own thoughts on things that matter to me. Sometimes this is my laptop that rests on a map-covered desk in front of the bay windows of my loft. And sometimes it’s a coffee shop where I chat with my mentor over tea. Not long ago, it was daily, never-ending conversations in the basement of a headquarters building with my best friend the RedHead.

A Safe Space, is where people –if there are other people –carefully listen as I retread the same 4×4 area trying to make sense of some thing. It’s a place where people question my beliefs and prod me (note not devil’s advocate me to death) to go deeper with my analysis. Ideally, in this place, I would do the same for others and there would exist an exchange of ideas and mutual learning that takes place. For the last four years, this blog (and its annex on my FB page) have served this purpose.

Sometimes journeys are more metaphorical than literal in nature, and this is one of those instances. Four years ago, I registered the domain “pretty for a black girl” because I was in the middle of a crisis and had no idea how to overcome it. What I did know was that writing was in some way the key to figuring it out. So I wrote one blog post here and promptly started a fashion blog and a boutique with The Twin. I didn’t write again here for two years.

I wrote this when I came back – once again circling around the bruise that was causing all of turmoil in my life, afraid to touch the painful center. It was the encouragement of friends and family alike that kept me putting pen to paper (albeit without any type of frequency) and closing in on the center of my life’s purpose. And it is this very same encouragement that keeps me going.

Of course this journey is nowhere near being finished, but I am thankful, here in the middle, to have had this safe space where I could grow and discover a way to talk about the things that so deeply affect me. Thank you to the Redhead and my other family who provided a safe space for me long before I had a blog. Thank you to the people who comment here on this blog, the ones who fill my FB inbox and chat with messages of encouragement and stories of personal growth and all of  the emails. I am always always always surprised by the thoughtful commentary on my posts. Thank you for being part of this journey. I look forward to more conversations.

Because this wouldn’t be a true anniversary post without highlighting some of my favorite posts. Here they are (in no particular order):

On prettiness and blackness

That time I had an impossible crush

Welcome to the Struggle

Whinging about learning another language and general writer’s advice

Single Girl Problems

How to forgive our Fathers

Who gets to be an American?

The Paradox of Black Christianity











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