Intro To: Germination

*Creating your garden in the concrete of the sidewalk. Where there is no space, you have to make your own.*

Every few months, I return to ‘The Garden’. Where my nostrils can finally enjoy a full inhale and I can see the entire sky. My hometown, a small southern-esque town. Too north for the Southerners to fully embrace us, but too south for the Northerners to pay attention. Right in the middle, where it could be awkward, but it’s golden and just right. The people are more polite than we care to notice and the highways go on for too long. It’s too much of nothing at all, but it’s home. When I revisit this place where I’ve planted these roots of mine, the branches of my life ask me in queer amazement, “How is it up there?” “Do you like New York City?” It’s almost as if they forget we’re a mere four hours away, close enough for everyone to see for themselves.

Depending on how close the branch is to the trunk, I either fake a smile or wear my infamous flat lips. But I always pause before I truly answer, because how should I respond? As a middle-class student going to one of the most expensive universities in the country, or as a young black woman in Manhattan. These two seeds are within me, one who allows me to relate to more of my peers, while the other I could never change. Who do they really want to hear from? The pondering lasts only a second before I answer, “It could be better” because I can’t shut out the fact that I am a challenging mix of both.
“How so?” the branches ask.

Well, I can tell you. From figuring out how to wash my curls in a low-pressured dorm room shower, to having conversations with privileged 20-year-old classmates who own a Bitcoin. Allow me to share a few entries of how I made living in New York City as a regular, young black woman somewhat ‘better’. No blog in the world will say it all, but they’ll all say something, and hopefully one of those things is the one you need to hear. Hopefully, my stories can provide a hand to hold when navigating the concrete jungle; and give some water to your roots when they seem harder to grow and find your system. To the black students in Manhattan, where it may be harder to find one another, welcome to Roots in the Concrete Jungle: A Black Girl’s Guide to Manhattan-ing.


Image Credit: Water Yourself 1″ Poster for Sale by crohnschronicle | Redbubble

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