Featured Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/guillmon9005/
Hi me again,
I had an amazing weekend back in August that prompted me to reflect on my journey to making genuine friends. One of my girlfriends and her husband came up for a weekend in NY and some serious black girl magic ensued.
When I look back on who I was 4 years ago I cannot believe I have grown into the person I am now. I can’t believe I’m surrounded by the people I have in my circle now. It’s overwhelming and sometimes it’s scary. I’ve always felt that I wasn’t allowed to be happy or that when something too good happens, something bad needs to happen to make up for it. I still feel this way the only difference is I am surrounded by black girls who are quick to tell me otherwise. Girls who celebrate the time we have together.
I’ve come a long way since the beginning of my blerd journey. I was an awkward alternative black girl. This made making friends especially stressful, I didn’t really have friends growing up, and when I finally reached adulthood I still found myself unable to make genuine friendships with people. I’m proud to say that I have gotten better at this, and I am now surrounded by amazing strong nerdy black women. Women who are about their comics and collectibles while being about their business and making sure they’re adulting.
Growing up was hard for me; I wasn’t into the things a lot of other black girls around me were. I was truly the “Black Sheep” no pun intended. It wasn’t enough that I didn’t fit in with the girls that grew up around my neighborhood. I was constantly made fun of, constantly played with, and just blatantly excluded from many things going on in the playground. I can’t even begin to describe how damaging this was. It made me very socially awkward and this followed me into adulthood. When I finally came of age and was able to find my own way, I still had trouble navigating. I found that many alt black girls just weren’t looking for friendships or at least with other black girls. Many were looking to be the only token in their circle of non-black friends. There could only be 1 alt black girl to a group of White, Asian, or Spanish circles.
So for a while I focused on making friends with everyone else around me. Some were good and some were bad.
“But it was better than being alienated by other alt black girls right? at least you had friends”
I feel like as an alternative black girl one of our first experiences with realizing we need black girls in our midst is dealing with the problematic ways of the non-black friends we initially connect with. Like sure they’re “cool” people, they’re into anime and shit, but ask yourself “Have they made racist jokes” “Have they ever casually told you as a black person that you’re not like other black people?” 95% of us have had this experience and it’s okay with us until we start to wake up from coon-aid. I feel like at this point it’s a rite of passage to see your non-black friends for what they are and eventually gravitate towards establishing relationships with people that look like you.
At 25 years old I honestly don’t really know how or when any of the friendships I have happened. It’s feels like I woke up one day and here were all these beautiful, brave black girls by my side. My life since meeting them has been a dream and I just really couldn’t ask for more right now. I feel like I’ve been a loser for so long that I’ve finally won and I just can’t believe it. Black girl friendships are more important than most alternative black girls know. It takes time to carve out these friendships, it takes a lot of love and honesty too. The girls I spent that summer weekend with I love with everything in me and it’s scary, but only because I cannot imagine a life without them. I can’t imagine not going on adventures with them.
I want to make it clear that even with these amazing women around me, there are STILL days where I feel alone and I just feel out of touch with reality. Even though it’s my responsibility to get myself help, I still get by with a little help from my friends. These women are my squad and while we have our moments where we sometimes don’t see eye to eye I could never replace then. I implore you to find these friendships especially when navigating the alternative/cosplay/nerdy scene where a lot of people aren’t looking for friendships as they are networking opportunities. Look for people you can have serious talks with but also discuss the proper way to sew pants for cosplay. Those are the people who will matter when the scene is dried up and gone.
Having these relationships change you in the best ways. In developing these friendships I gained a better outlook on myself as a person. I find myself working harder, putting plans into motion instead of just romanticizing the thoughts of them, holding myself accountable, and just overall knowing my worth. This is priceless it cannot be bought in a store. When you’re friends with genuine boss ass black girls you’re going to feel invincible. I wouldn’t trade these feelings for the world and I wish that I could have these moments for life.
If you are a black girl that’s currently struggling to find her forever friends, I urge you to give yourself time and don’t be too hard on yourself. As it stands currently we have so many struggles to overcome before we can form these healthy relationships, and we have struggles after too. The difference is having real people in your corner to give you that encouragement or to let you know when you’ve been acting out. My top 3 tips would be to love yourself a little more, be true to yourself and those around you, and to let things happen naturally.
The pictures you see here above with the people you see in them didn’t just happen overnight. It took love, building trust, and growth. Keep these things in mind and you’ll soon be on your way to finding quirky black girls to slay with on a summer Saturday afternoon in Coney Island NY.