To the Melanin Queens of the Bay, With Love.

There’s something so special, so magical, and so incredible that happens when a group of black women come together. This weekend I attended the launch party for the National Association of Adventurous Black Women, and it was just what I needed after living without melanin around me for the past three months. As a young black woman, it can be tough to live amongst people who are not of my background. Though the opportunity I’ve taken here in the Bay Area is incredible, there’s nothing quite like being surrounded by black women, who I don’t have to explain a single thing to. They just get it.

Before I arrived I was nervous. How do you even network?! This was my first time at any type of event like this. I told myself it could go one of two ways, and made it a point to manifest the most positive and enjoyable experience I could have. Manifestation is a powerful tool, and needless to say, the Universe did not disappoint.

My mom, who’s visiting me here in California, dropped me off and I swear I felt like a little kid getting sent off to school (but at the same time grateful she was there to give me a pep talk). I walked inside and immediately recognized a fellow blogger, who was one of the first people I made a connection with when I started Bright-Eyed Joy. We fell into conversation like we were old friends, and I felt so much better.

See, this is what I’m talking about. That magic. That special stuff. That instant connection we, as black women, can make and suddenly feel like we already know each other when we’ve just met. Everyone was so welcoming. Every “Hey girl! What’s your name?” filled my heart with a sense of belonging that I haven’t felt since I left my friends back on the east coast. We touched on so many topics, from meditation to the importance of black women practicing self-care to what type of camera I should buy for blogging and that it’s really just about the lense. When asked what I do, I told them about Bright-Eyed Joy, and got an immense amount of love and support. It felt great.

My primary reason for creating Bright-Eyed Joy was to provide a resource for women of color to come and understand, from another woman of color’s perspective, how essential it is to care for themselves. The self-care and wellness space is incredibly whitewashed, and that needs to change. To have my mission affirmed so strongly made my spirit light up. I left that day feeling empowered and fulfilled. Black Girl Magic is real, abundant, ever-growing. I loved every minute of being in the presence of it and being reminded of my own magic.

Here’s to all the wonderful black women in Oakland I met today, and a special thank you to the National Association of Adventurous Black Women. We must realize the importance of us all banding together, especially at a time like this in the world. There is so much power in black women coming together to collaborate, to vent about our struggles, to cheer each other on. You all are truly amazing, and you never fail to make a girl feel like I belong once more after months without melanin. To the Melanin Queens of the Bay, With Love.