Shortly after completing my undergrad program in 2011, visiting my hometown, Miami, Fl became my symbolic "pilgrimage to Mecca." A heavy comparison, I know and its in no way a minimization to the Muslim journey but the trip is always spiritual for me- it humbles me. In December, I returned home with my Boston family, which made this particular trip the most special of them all. It was five of us young, Haitian, professional women in Miami- six of us, sisters.
I usually stay with my mother when in Miami but this time we stayed in an Airbnb, I wasn't trying to crowd Zoe lady's house.
We did "tourist" things- ran through Wynwood.
Wynwood ran through us while we did "tourist" things. While I'm thankful for the art and attraction Wynwood brings.
I'm heartbroken over the revival and redistribution of resources Wynwood doesn't bring in to the Miami they don't usually y'all - the hood.
Once upon a time, Wynwood was a hood. It has morphed into the hot spot for every "artsy" hipster wanting to bask in the sun.
Miami natives don't frequent Wynwood, they say it's for the, well... tourists
We did "community" things, ate in Little Haiti.
A special shout out to Naomi's Garden Restaurant and Lounge for hooking us up with the authentic manje lakay (food from home).
Oh boy did Naomi hook us up. What I loved the most was the authenticity of the setting.
Roosters stretching their wings in the outdoor eating area, the colorful Haitian art- closest thing you could get to Haiti
If you're a foodie, head over to my homegirl Deige's food blog, "Deige on the Go," to read about how our stomachs were blessed in Miami.
We did family things, which was my favorite, sentimental part of the trip
I was fortunate enough to have a group of people play a significant role in my childhood.
My love of all things 90s, minding my business, my love of grapefruit, my slick comments, are all thanks to the Balan family
They aren't my blood family, but they're my family. The last time I saw them was elementary, seeing them at 28yrs old was... well, I just cried
We had soup joumou, reminisced, and I curled up in my God Mother's lap. It was beautiful eye opener.
Everything I am, everything I do, is for my family. I love y'all
"See it pays to be the boss hoe, shit that's how you floss hoes!"
-Trina, Da Baddest Bitch
Baaayy Bayy! It's against the law to be in Miami and not soak up the beach
We did boss bish, feeling myself, "Girls Trip" things.
It was a movie- boat rental, VIP section at ROOFTOP AT E11EVEN
We drank, danced, played in the water, and sang Trina lyrics at the top of our lungs during our booze cruise. And at E11EVEN, we celebrated day 1 of 365 with Ace of Spades, tequila, and the DJ giving us free promo, "They got the most expensive bottles fellas! Don't talk to them! They got good credit!" We looked around to see we were the only group of black women at VIP and turned up higher!
We had the sauce- no ketchup. Just sauce- raw sauce
It's been three months since my feet touched back down onto the frigid pavement of Boston, MA. After being in my hometown, Miami, Fl, for five days, I can't say I missed New England. I didn't miss the lacking but sluggishly growing night life. Neither did I miss the welcoming but sometimes selectively "clicky" community of young professionals of color. And lastly, I definitely didn't miss the melanin deficiency in Boston's most popular areas. What I did miss though was the grind, the hustle.
At 12 years old, my mother sent me to visit my father in the pale faced suburban outskirts of Boston. What was supposed to be a "vacation," turned into a long term stay. Imagine the slow down of time, the rapid heart beat my adolescent body underwent as my father, a stranger at the time, revealing to me that I wasn't returning to the city that formed me - devastated was an understatement.
A dash to my room and a pillowcase flooded with tears is what followed this news.
I'm guessing the "woke" and therapists would say my underlying disdain for Massachusetts has a lot to do with how I transitioned from visitor to resident at such a fragile developmental stage - Hmmm... Maybe.
Similar to every city, town, and borough, Boston has had its good and bad moments... Charles R. Swindoll said it the best, "Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it." As soon as it became clear to me that access to education would be my golden ticket, grinding and hustling in New England was no longer optional.
With my chest out and every ounce of energy I have stored in my 100lbs body, I quote one of my favorite Beyonce lyrics,
"I will leave footprints in the sand of time, when I leave this world, I'll leave no regrets."
So when you see me out living my best life, giving my freest whine and shoki with my tribe know that I'm leaving something on this earth for everyone to remember- so everyone will know I was here.
Long gone are the days where I embrace this "woe is me" attitude.
I will live each day until I die and know that I meant something to somebody's life.
Yes, there are people in this life who because they are hurt, will hurt others.
But as for me and my house, I will continue to touch hearts.
The hearts that I touch will be the proof that I lived, that I made a difference and this world will see, I was here
"I will give my all, do my best
Bring someone happiness
I will leave this world a little better
Because I was here"