I have been a part of the SHYNE community for about a year and a half now and in this community, I have grown and been in connection with some of the most beautiful, powerful, intelligent, and caring Black women. I never thought that I would be a part of a “Sista Circle” like this because, honestly, the communities of Black women that I was exposed to in high school and college all seemed to have a lot of cattiness, drama, and were involved in activities that I wasn’t interested in or I didn’t believe that I was capable of taking part in and I was very judgy so I really didn’t know what to expect or what would be expected of me.
I think back to where this belief started and I learned how to relate to other Black women from instruction from my mom who was definitely on the team “don’t hang with those fast girls” and by fast she meant girls that dressed more provocatively, had multiple boyfriends, didn’t go to church, etc. Anyone who didn’t line up with her biblical beliefs of a virtuous woman, I mean who was even thinking about being virtuous at 13,14,15 years old? Not me. Having this measuring stick in my mind, at such a young and impressionable age, led me to be very judgmental of Black women. How we walked, talked, the company we kept, academic status, pretty much everything. I stayed away from girls that didn’t align with who my mom said was acceptable. Some of that thought pattern changed when I went away to college. I became intrigued by the “it’ girls. These girls were fierce; they wore the latest styles, walked together to classes across campus, had plenty of male attention, and still made it on time to 8 o’clock class. I wanted what they had. Freedom. The freedom to be themselves and still get their goals accomplished.
Fast forward to today. I am healing that part of myself that had such a shallow view of Black women and Sisterhood and it is because of what I have witnessed and have been a recipient of during my journey with SHYNE. I have become more accepting of every Queen’s journey and I see the sacredness in our journeys and each other as well. I have received quite a few blessings from being within this beautiful Black Sisterhood space called SHYNE. In this community I have learned what it means to be seen and see others. Often the remark is made when we see other Black women doing well “Oh, I see you Sis” or nowadays we give each other their flowers when we see Black women making strides in their lives. Being seen not only helps me feel embraced by my Sisters, but it also makes it possible for me to embrace others. I feel supported and have the capacity and willingness to support others. No one’s healing journey is easy. The amount of work that it takes to be vulnerable and express things that aren’t “pretty” can be heavy at times I have shied away from it and tried to hide. Since I’m in a safe space, when I have fallen apart the community has kept me together, encouraged me, and even gave me space when I needed it. One thing that they have not let me do, is give up on myself and that in and of itself is powerful because without this kind of safety and support, I would’ve spiraled backward into old habits and mindsets.
Within SHYNE, I have developed a deeper relationship with myself. I have faced ugly truths and I have celebrated glorious awakenings. I have learned that I can only have a healthy relationship with others only if I have a healthy relationship with myself and coming to that realization what a tough time and I had my sisters to hold me through it as I wrestled with my dishonest and disrespectful actions towards myself and others. My sisters are showing me and helping me develop a softer side of myself. I don't have to pretend to know it all. I don’t have to have my guard up. I can just be because I am around extraordinary women who are committed to doing the work.
I have found that freedom that I was so desperately admiring from the other side of campus all those years ago. I have found the freedom that only being around spiritually centered, grounded, amazing, and captivating Black women can give me. I am healing within the arms of women who are there to lift me and call me higher because they truly are rooting for me, and I am rooting for them.