Man. Life comes at you fast. I knew yesterday would be a long day. I had work at my day job, then two events to cover afterwards. It’s easy to get through a long day if I love what I’m wearing. Hence, why I think insurance should pay for my aesthetic upkeep. The way I see it, clothes are a part of the maintenance of my mental health wellness, but I digress. Around 3:00 is when I felt the exhaustion creep up, so I drank a strong cup of black tea to at least keep my eyes open.
When 6:00 hit, I was out the door and en route to the Americano hotel. I was on the 7 train and looked up to find that it was just me and a white business man wearing a cheap suit on the train car as Hudson Yards is now the last stop for that line. He was digging up his nose with such ferocity that I legit got nauseous. I know you see me sitting here. Why do you feel it is appropriate to do that in public? I was outraged and quickly got off the train and emptied almost all of my hand sanitizer into my palm. I emerge from the subway station a little confused and trying to get my bearings. I’m not sure where the hell I am, and I hate that, especially when I’m wearing heels. This happens to me often though, because I have a piss poor sense of direction. Something just told me to turn right, and I instantly knew where I was. I walked right up on the Coach building. The very steps I burst into tears on when I was fired a little over a year ago were right there in front of me. It was like walking into a crime scene. As I get closer to the steps I see a blonde haired woman with a cute little pixie cut and realize that it was the VP of the department I was cut from. She was such a nice woman. When I interviewed for that job, we found ourselves sitting in her large office talking for about an hour about life, love, faith, balancing it all. I have held on to her email address since then, and always wanted to email her just to tell her thank you, but I never did. I guess I was afraid she was disappointed in me or something, or that she probably didn’t give a shit. I walked up to her and said “hi, I’m sure you don’t remember me.” She cut me off and said, “Yes I do. You worked in allocation. How are you doing?” We chatted for a while and I told her how much I appreciated our conversation that day. She asked what I was doing now, and told me how happy she is that I moved on from there. I promised to email her and keep in touch as I scurried off to party.
Tonight’s event was Essence’s Best in Black Beauty Awards. I was headed to the pre-reception, and by the time I arrived Jazmine Sullivan and Elle Varner had already spoken. Sweet treats and hors d’oeuvres had already been picked over. Drinks had started to perspire, and people were slowly filing out to go to the awards. I recognized a few of the faces of bloggers, and influencers and proceeded to get Snaps for work. I felt awkward and immediately regretted not making someone come with me. I am notorious for going to things by myself, but in this moment I felt so self-conscious. I felt my imposter syndrome creep up, and narcissistically thought everyone was staring at me. “Am I out of place? Do I belong here? Do I look out of place? Ugh I have to get out of my own head,” I thought. The publicist running the event who I had been emailing for the past two weeks introduced herself and invited me to ride to the awards with her. She’s a little shorter than me with the cutest little baby bump. PR girls here are the absolute sweetest, and I’m basically nobody in terms of notoriety, so I just assume it’s part of their job. The best are the drunk white PR girls who start spilling the tea about who’s awful to work with.
We arrive at a warehouse venue space decorated like a carnival. There’s a Lady Gaga circa 2011 lookalike on stilts, twirling rings. Girls are walking around carrying trays of caramel, cajun, and buttered popcorn. Cotton candy machines are pumping, drinks are flowing, and the line for the gift bags is growing. I mingle for a while until my feet start to give me major attitude. I meet a guy who swears I can hit him up to use his Tommy Hilfiger discount. A gorgeous little brownie with a face beat for the Gods chats me up in line, and we exchange Instagram handles.
Someone taps me on the shoulder and I assume it is to tell me to get the hell out of the way, but it’s Kela Walker. “I love the way you put this together,” she says eyeing me up and down, and complimenting my dress. “Thank you so much,” I blush. A compliment from her is like next level. We exchange pleasantries and I tell her how I was just hawking over her Instagram looking for inspiration. I mispronounce her name, and she graciously corrects me (so embarrassing). We take a few selfies after we find our lighting, and part ways. Just when my feet are about to give up on me, I find a spot to chill and sit. The DJ’s have started to play Prince music, and an older Trinidadian woman tells me about how she was trying to get over the flu herself a few weeks ago, as she asks me how I feel about Prince’s death. Just as I’m about to change into my flats and head home, I see Tichina Arnold and Teyonah Parris on the step and repeat outside. Tichina Arnold is legend so I have to chat her up! I stalked her for a while to be honest, and finally got to take a pic with her. I need to research if she’s ever made any comparisons between herself and the character she’s most known for, Pam, because I swear that’s how she really acts. She is warm and humble but hilarious. “What do you attribute your longevity and success to in this business?” I ask as people are lined up to get pics with her. “I love what I do. I started when I was young. Show business is like your boyfriend. It can be really good to you sometimes, and it can be not so good to you sometimes. The question is will you still love it even when it’s not good to you?” She is talking to me like it’s just me and her in the room. It’s like talking to your mom’s cool sister who did really well in life. After she gives me a hug and I thank her for her contribution to the culture, I finally feel like I can go home having accomplished something.
It is a perfect Spring evening. It’s warm, but not too warm. The wind blows softly, and I’m a little nervous that I’m gonna have a Marilyn Monroe moment as my dress billows around my ankles. Just a little over a year ago I thought about leaving this place. I thought about giving up. The city had chewed me up, and spit me back out, and I was done. Now I am literally in the midst of my dreams. It’s not easy. It’s not perfect. I am tired as hell, but I am so thankful and so full.