One of the outcomes of my 5 minutes of fame on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show is that I have received more emails than I am used to getting; after all I am a just one Black woman living in a fairly rural state. These are emails from other Black women struggling to make sense of life in locations that frankly lack diversity and the daily struggles that result as part of being in such locales.
Having spent the last decade in one of the whitest states in America after a lifetime in Chicago has been one of the most jarring experiences that I have ever had. In the early years, I struggled to find my place, I struggled with low level depression and a constant sense that I did not belong. At times these feelings were exacerbated by well-meaning but clueless friends who didn’t get it. It was not uncommon to have friends back in Chicago tell me how they couldn’t live in such a place, gee thanks! I didn’t exactly move to Maine because I wanted to, it really came down to my personal comfort and well-being versus my kid. As a mother, my son’s well-being was far more important than my comfort. For me moving to Maine, meant that my son who was 10 when I moved here, no longer had to fly back and forth between me and his father, it meant that we could both be a part of his life. That is and was far more important than my need to fit in and see Black people. For my children, I will dance with the Devil and do whatever I need to, because I am a mama bear.
My slow journey towards making peace with Maine started not long before my Mom’s illness and death, when we had a conversation that was the foundation for me changing my views and the realization that I have the power to create a home no matter where I live. It was one Mama Bear guiding another Mama Bear and her words live with me daily, every time I want to scream out loud about what I perceive as an injustice, I remember that I have the power. I don’t have to give it away to others.
All jokes aside, this blog on a deeper level was about me claiming my right to be in Maine and letting the world know…I am here.
In thinking of the emails that I have received, I realized that I am not the only one managing life in a space that is less than ideal and I want to give voice to these experiences. Black women (and men and kids) are found all across the United States, we live in the largest urban hubs and the sleepiest towns and villages despite what the media would have us to believe. I want to hear from you, I frankly want to hear from Black women in every state in the Union. I want to hear from the Black Girl in Alaska and all over. So I am asking Black women across the United States to write me about life in your state and let me share it here in this space. Let’s share the joys, sorrows and frustrations of being in places that people don’t expect to find us. Let’s talk about life in places where we are expected to be.
Once a week I will feature a post in what is the “Black Girl in ?” project. Let’s get this started. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org