July 31, 2022
By Jemi Lassiter
"Eve After Eden: Part IV" was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. How about you?
This go ‘round, I felt I either lacked or could not see in myself several of the qualities the women of Part IV personified. Girl, was I wrong. That feeling was pure imposter syndrome stopping by to see if I missed her. If I wanted her to leave a bag or two in my mental hall closet just in case. (LOL!)
The words, stories and experiences of Patrice, Shartoyea, Dr. Kiki and Candice hit me on a new level. (This is where you play Ciara’s song “Level Up” because that is exactly what I needed to do. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Let’s go!)
I wrote about living life in alignment with Patrice Jackson, the co-founder of Sweet Honey Rose Co. This interview-turned-conversation had us both in tears as we shared the littany of material items and expectations we had to release in order to just get started on the path to alignment. As Jackson shared, that shift starts with small changes in habit in one area of your life and grows to reach the others until you have to make the conscious decision to either move forward in alignment or step back into familiar disarray.
I wrote about the brilliant mind behind Pretty Legendary Family, Shartoyea Dixon. She is lovely and light-hearted. She’s committed to helping people of color stand in earned leadership spaces as their full selves and when she’s not working, Sis is traveling! And, not just over the river and through the woods. No, she’s in Italy and Egypt with her family. She’s driving cross country and back just to see the sights. She’s packing and unpacking, tracking the family’s trips here and there, planning the next big trip and… realizing she too can be in beautiful spaces. She too can experience luxury without apology. She too is worthy of being in and fully enjoying this world as much as anyone else. My time with her unlocked a false belief I had of what I was and was not worthy to enjoy, where I was and was not welcome, and how far I could or could not push myself.
I wrote about developing courage with Dr. Kiki Ramsey. She is a tenacious woman with a zest for life and a hunger for success but she started life out as the daughter of an addict. She became a teen mother at 17. What propelled her from, in her words, “Point A to where she wanted to be” was courage. As Dr. Kiki shared her path forward, she made sure to mention the people and relationships that supported her courageous acts, that held her close when life looked scary and that gave her wisdom, correction or guidance to keep going. But, she also shared that her steadfastness was sometimes stubborness based in a negative mindset. The greatest act of courage she demonstrated was to hold herself accountable. This woman gave me laughs and chills! She spoke all truths, no chaser.
Then, I wrote about the power of pivoting. Or, maybe it was the grace of working in your gift? You know, perhaps with Candice Denise it was the necessity of practicing self-awareness in self care. I would love to pinpoint just one topic but the Monday her story was promoted was the same day she shared the passing of her father. I did what a lot of us do. I expressed my sincerest condolences, acknowledged her posts and stories and sent uplifting messages. Then, I watched. Not out of nosiness but out of concern. She had shared so much with me that, I was under no false pretense of friendship but, I was aware that she’d given me rare access to her life experiences. I wanted to honor her being in whatever way I could. So, I watched to see where if ever I might be a help, a light, a reminder to her that she is all the things. Black Girl Magic. A sister from a different mister. The bearer of get-your-life-right tidings. The sustainable self-care sermonizer. The deaconess of don’t-play-about-you. The be all of walk-it-like-I-talk-it.
I watched her share her grief and demonstrate self love and self gratitude when all she wanted to do was… I don’t know.
At a time when I would have fallen silent, she allowed her community of followers and CD Creative Loft clients to bear witness. She began to demonstrate self care through grief in real time. She publicly pulled from her own coffer of affirmations and encouragement so that she could show up as herself everyday and her community followed suit.
Seeing the stories of these four women added to the “pages” of Eve After Eden brought a moment of peace to me. I finally saw what I had long felt, that women were not just sharing their stories with me because I had asked to meet with them. They were not seeking validation or influence in anyway. They already had both. What the women of Eve After Eden, across all Parts, were allowing me to do was write what could not be said anywhere else and to feel what might never have to be endured again. (Y’all, real tears fall and full belly laughs happen in a good number of Eve After Eden interviews!)
By no means has the rollercoaster ended, it is just coasting through a curve long enough for me to catch my breath… and start "Eve After Eden: Part V". (Because you know I’ve done the interviews, right?!)