For the last 9 months I have been thinking about this post. Yet my fingers anxiously felt land locked and those thoughts remained just that. I know I’ve talked about the desire to better “balance” and not let life deter me from sharing and writing on Tii with regular consistency, but truth be told this growth period required me to just be and take pause.
Let’s rewind to last fall, which brought about much needed change as a chapter in my professional life came to a close shortly after returning from New York Fashion Week in September (it pains me think that’s where we last left off here). I have been so fortunate to marry my passion with my career in leading marketing strategy for renowned brands. Naturally through my 12+ years I have experienced the great, the good and the many pitfalls that secretly linger behind the corporate scenes. Throughout this time every experience left me valuing the same thing – how I care for and pour into people for the better reigns supreme. For me, that purpose actively fuels my ability to perform in every other professional facet required of me. While I strive to positively impact everything I do, I also accept that sometimes the best work I can do is separate myself to create necessary space and energy for my purpose to best be utilized where it is valued and welcomed. I can only hope my experience will serve as a timely reminder that you are more than worthy and deserving of your passion and desires despite how a current situation may leave you feeling. Your inner peace is the utmost prize and accomplishment so hold steadfast to that by any means necessary. In seeing this chapter close I was able to intentionally pour into myself before jumping into freelance marketing projects. In November I closed out the year with one of my most proud projects to date – a diversity and inclusion round table community discussion in partnership with Le Sol House (which is something I’ve been dreaming up for far too long). I am excited to see where this next chapter will lead, but most importantly the values I will bring with me whether that manifest back to a corporate space or on a solo path.
Jumping head first into 2020 was a beacon of light surrounded with thoughts of optimism and purpose-filled focus. A styling project took me to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the first time, and shortly thereafter I welcomed two additional marketing consulting projects. Then COVID-19 turned the world upside down. My light suddenly faded and instead filled with immense sorrow and anxiety. To see so many lives being destroyed by this outbreak was debilitating to say the least. Being mandated to stay home is by far the easiest thing ever asked of me and the bare minimum I owe to everyone who isn’t afforded the same luxury. This down time welcomed a lot of self reflection that sparked me to rediscover the very creativity that I crave when creating in the first place. Talk about a BLESSING. I finally conquered things that have tugged at my heart strings for years (10 consecutive full form push-up’s – I’m coming for you 15 and counting – and a 21-day abundance meditation challenge were among the highlights). The gratitude to be safe, healthy and filled with peace cannot adequately be measured in words.
With COVID keeping everyone captive and attune to the very real reality of life, the horrific murder of George Floyd rattled Non-POC to the lifelong pandemic of overt and systemic racism. While it is encouraging to see so many Non-POC outraged it also left the black community questioning, “why now?” Why didn’t all the other countless lives unjustly taken — Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Botham Jean, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, to name just a very small few — ignite the same fury as it has for us all these years? The impact of Floyd’s death took social media by storm. It called upon countless people near and far, brands and companies to speak out and show support for equality and black lives in a way we have never seen before. All the while a wave of “FINALLY” rushed through me and so many of my peers and still revels strong today. It is impossible to decipher genuine desire to change from that of surface level acting, but it will ultimately have no option but to unveil itself through tangible action. Non-POC allies will either elicit anti-racist work among their peers and in their household and companies will ensure their corporate teams and decision makers match their ethos and beliefs. OR they won’t. And luckily the truth will prevail because it is impossible to hide or fake it forever. I am most encouraged that the black community has arrived to a safe place that will no longer remain silent and begrudgingly accept plainly illustrated disparities. We are empowered to hold everyone accountable and posses the economic power to do so with our wallets as well. Too many lives have been sacrificed thus far and frankly our own depend on it. Everything we desire in life requires a level of commitment free of fear. So here I am standing in my faith with endless hope in hand that we tirelessly commit to having the uncomfortable conversation, to doing the hard work especially when it wrestles up unnerving feelings and to say the wrong thing and humbly accept correction when we do. Our commitment to always do what is humanely right when the fire is no longer burning on the stage of equality and no one is watching will be the difference needed to radically disrupt an infrastructure deeply rooted in oppression.
All my love and light, xo
Photos by Antonio McCollum.