As you probably know if you are part of my digital community, I ended 2018 and began 2019 back in The Continent. My non-black American friends sometimes look confused when we, the diaspora, say The Continent. I guess that’s a black diaspora thing. So, to clarify Africa is The Continent/The Motherland.
I was part of the Magic and Melanin trip led by my friend Dossé-Via. And it was every bit as magical as I hoped.
Nigerians tend to be the “white people” of the Continent and we tend to assume ourselves and our collective way of being as default for Africans. I mean we are the largest economy in the continent and the largest movie industry so makes sense, but I’ve been cautiously wanting to get out of that head space and experience parts of the continent where my identity is not a default. Just to be clear, even in Nigeria, I belong to 2 minority cultures (Ibibio and Annang) so my identity has never felt really central, but there is something to your country as a default that I still felt the need to break to out of. Its why when this opportunity to travel around West Africa sans Nigeria on a trip led by another black African identified woman, I jumped on it as quick as I could.
It has been hard to summarize what those weeks in the Motherland did for my soul and its been even harder to wrap the experience up, place a bow on it, and put it away mentally. It was a vacation, but it wasn’t. It was more like a reminder. It was equal parts centering, grounding, and disrupting in ways I look forward to unraveling more of over the next few months.
I created new community with some amazing black women who I was privileged to experience that time with, and got to be part of the Accra nightlife scene with the most risqué outfits I own. I reconnected to the Ocean. The Atlantic feels different from the Pacific. I taught Yoga and reconnected with the joy of doing embodied and body based work.
And most importantly, for the first time in a really long time I didn’t really have to work hard for my peace.
I think it was important for me to experience ease and to finally internalize that feeling ease doesn’t diminish the celebration. I’ve always celebrated myself for doing hard things. I’ve always been celebrated for doing hard things. Accomplishing things others wouldn’t dream of. Creating things to solve problems others don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole and I think my internalization of that as a way to be has showed up in the opportunities I pursue and the ones I gloss over.
As I unwind, untangle, and keep processing what the trip meant to me, especially that parts where I channeled all my energy the first few days in the New Year into being a beach bum, chasing frivolous things, and only doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, it is changing things about the way I see myself in the world. I am choosing to allow myself to just be. And in a society that is increasingly rewarding of constant busy-ness as a measure of worth, that feels revolutionary enough.