“Where are you from?”
I get this question daily! There is a part of me that makes me proud that I am easily detectable. That I am not a native of the town I live in. Whether it’s due to my style, my “accent” or my vibe, I can’t put my thumb on it but I can say moving to a town with a population of 6,309 people was an adjustment, to say the least. I’m a city girl after all!
I am sure most of you know but if not I am a native of Baltimore, MD. Growing up in the mid-Atlantic was like living in 5-6 states at once. If I wanted to hang out in a soul vibe city, I drove an hour and a half to Philidelphia. If I wanted to shop after the holidays for the best deals and most important the best fashion, New York city was a swift four hours north. I never missed staying up with fashion, trends, pop culture, exposure to different food and most valued to me diversity.
Fast forward to 2012, I was given the opportunity to move to Washington. So naturally, I thought District of Columbia, TOO EASY! I can still navigate this metropolis as the city girl title I wear proudly.
Well, that was clearly not the Washington the company I was recruited by was referring too. They meant Washington State, Grey’s Anatomy Washington State, Sleepless in Seattle, Washington State. The Pacific Northwest. I quickly shifted mindset and took on the challenge to uproot my small boys and start anew in a new city.
I distinctly remember moving and the first week, Reece and I played a game called “find the cigarette bud”. Let’s say it got boring after a while trying to find one in the first town we lived in, a place called Bellevue. After meeting my husband who at the time was active duty military lived south of me. It was about an hour and a half drive which soon became tasking when you fall in love and all you want to do is be around that person.
It required me to move me and the boys closer to where my boyfriend, now husband was stationed. Needless to say, it was an adjustment from seeing sprinkles of diversity but then moving further out the city you start to shift your games from finding cigarette buds to a person of color.
After living in my town for 3yrs at this point, I can say I fought it, I have found myself falling in love with its little quirks. The pride the residents feel for there property. I don’t live in a neighborhood where there is one of those homes that does nothing for the property value. Our cul de sac is like our own little island. The adults watch out and feed I need to stress all the kiddos ha! We shift whose house is point week to week. Icey, Slurpees, suns, Cheetos, we all take our turns. Which is funny because if you follow me on my Instagram you know I post stories about our beloved little neighbor Ben. #BensBack. He is a 3year old little boy which loves hanging out with Pierce but has a personality that is like no other. He sees me pull up to the driveway and he’s the first little hand I see outside my window. Even early Saturday mornings at my dining table eating breakfast (shrugs shoulders). I encourage you if you need a good laugh to watch him when he makes an appearance in my stories.
I say all this to come to a point that no matter how big and how amazing living in the city can be, small towns have their charm. As a parent, I am always on alert for the well-being of my children. There is a calm sense of peace living in a space where everyone is looking out for each other rather than getting over.
Now the reality is this, although I still have to pay my utilities in person because there isn’t an online portal. When it’s a major holiday, the streets are filled with energy and celebration of family and military observance. I don’t have to fight to see fireworks or large crowds. I can walk to a beach and walk a trail without paraphernalia that I guard my children against.
There are definitely times where I need to break out our bubble, so my children are not naive to how the world can be. Although they are black boys in a predominately white town they are covered with love and protection. I mean for goodness sakes, we are close friends with the police chief, Jeff is great! Our boys have been playing on the same football team, the same choir for the last 4 years our families are close. The outside world is just not built like that. We have nights where we sit down and discuss what is going on in the news. How boys just like them drive with their white grandmother and it is assumed that his harming her because of the color of his skin.
It is important to visit the world, explore cities, meet a diverse group of people. However where you lay your head where peace of mind reside there.
Now let me go watch the episode of Love In Hip Hop, Hollywood I missed. I’m pretty sure Barbara from the quicky mart won’t be able to catch me up.
Top: Sarah Alexandra Tickled Pink
Bottom: H&M Boyfriend Jean
Lip: Shiseido Dark Fantasy
Shoe: Zara (Similar here)