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Southern Black Girl Chronicles

This past weekend I visited my family to celebrate my aunt's 60th b'earth day. Yes, I do know the correct spelling of birth and day. I just choose to acknowledge our connection to the earth, but I digress...While spending time laughing, eating, dranking, talking and loving my family, I came to a realization: no one has truly written about what it means to be a Southern Black Girl. Or maybe they have and I missed it...I have yet to read about MY experience....

So here I go....

Now some would argue that I'm not really from the south, being from Virginia and all. However, I like to remind people that the Commonwealth was the seat of the confederacy. And, every time I get closer to my hometown, I'm given a BIG ol' welcome home by the confederate flags (I intentionally did NOT capitalize confederate). While Virginia isn't the Deep South, it is in fact the South. I must admit, I'm not country; however, I fashion myself a "Southerner." There is a difference and everyone has an opinion. I'll just day I'm a "Southerner" who has country moments and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Some of my favorite memories growing up involved catching lightning bugs, bringing home a turtle from the local creek, sitting on a front porch talking and ear hustling the adults. This weekend as I was blessed to spend time with my 91 year old grandmother and family and my aunt's close friends, I truly appreciated my upbringing. I grew up in a college town, where my family integrated the neighborhood, a neighborhood that still has less than five families of color. However, I spent most of my summers in my parent's hometown, which was more urban than my hometown. Summers there I thought were magical. From visiting my great-aunt's house where there was always a fresh poundcake and for my grandmother to get eggs from her chickens, to playing with my cousins outside until the streetlights came on (something I could appreciate there because in my neighborhood we didn't even have street lights).

Last week the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) began the series Queen Sugar. I absolutely loved it...mostly because I saw so much of my family and our values represented in the drama. Perhaps it is a fortunate series of events that have now occurred. First, I'm an academic on the outside and a essayist/short story writer on the inside who has struggled to find balance in the two for several years. Second, Queen Sugar...nuff said. Third, spending this amazing time with family. And lastly, recent family and personal events have just made me truly appreciate this journey called life. So, here I have birthed Southern Black Girl Chronicles....I'm not sure where it will go, but it feels good in a way I didn't think I'd feel again. Maybe it is true....write about what you know. We'll see how long this motivation lasts.

Stay tuned...

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