The Desire to Find Myself when Pieces of Me are Stolen: Detroit, MI
“Who am I?”
Finding Yourself in Places You’ve Never Been
This past weekend (March 24-26), I went on a trip to Detroit. This trip was the first time I’d ever traveled completely alone. I flew on the plane alone, I explored the city alone and I was alone while I found a place to stay. Don’t get me wrong, it was exciting! I had the opportunity to explore at my own pace. When I was ready to leave a location, I was able to just pick up and go! It was so stress-free. Additionally, I was able to find locations that peaked only my interest. All the while, I learned more about myself.
As a traveled around the city, I learned more about my African roots that stretch so deep into the ground. I was able to learn about the history of beads, the significance of food and cloth, as well as, the ingenuity and creativity of my people. It was a beautiful and enriching experience. I witnessed the end result of their determination. I was able to see the pieces of who I am through the hardwork of each creator and their product. In other words, they are a reflection of who I am. Their culture is my culture. Through meeting each individual I encountered, I discovered more about myself and who we are as a people.
So when I asked, “Who am I?”, pieces of my answer came by meeting them. Therefore, each encounter was not by chance, it was fate. Whether it was purposeful or accidental, each individual helped me find a piece of who I am.
Cooking With Que
Meeting this beauty was truly a joy. Que, otherwise known as Quiana Broden, is the owner and blogger of Cooking with Que. She has created a platform in which vegan and meat eaters can coexist. She strives to provide access to yummy plant-based meals that can be created by anyone. During the Naturalista Life Expo, Que presented a cooking demo where she made her Kale Medley. Her personality lit up the whole room. She was sweet and sassy and real. During each step of the demo, her bright smile brought you in closer and closer. With her mixture of sautéed arugula with liquid aminos, portobello mushrooms (my fave!), cooked quinoa, tomatoes, AND NO SALT, the dish was a hit!
After seeing her shine in the kitchen and tasting her other pre-made dishes of vegan mac n cheese and open-faced enchiladas, she is now someone I truly emulate. I found we were both on a mission to “Eat to Live.” I also enjoy finding new vegan and plant-based meals to help take care of my body while still enjoying my food. Even though I only had a few moments to talk with her, Que is now someone I look up to. After a long afternoon of vegan treats and plant-based education, I have come closer to the lifestyle I am striving for. Check Que out here.
CPK Shea Essentials
But we all know I don’t just take care of my insides, I need to take care of the skin that surrounds it. So when it comes taking care of my outer appearance, I tend to focus on finding practices that allow me to also cater towards my self-care needs. Y’all know how I love soaking in the bathtub so I had to get some items to make the experience even better. I haven’t tried any of the items yet because life has been moving fast since I returned home, but everything smells amazing.
Many times throughout history, we have seen black bodies portrayed as lesser-than or something with no importance at all. Consequently, there are not many products that work sufficiently for my skin. So when I met the creator of CPK Shea Essentials, I was thrilled to hear of all the natural products and their ingredients. I can’t wait to show my skin the love it deserves by using her products. I’ll keep you updated as I use them. Check it out here.
Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum
I don’t even know what to say about this place. When I cam here, I was so overwhelmed with some many emotions that I didn’t take a single picture. I was completely surrounded by beads of all colors hanging on the walls from the moment I walked inside. After speaking with Olayami Dabls, owner of the museum, I learned that many of the beads were older than my parents. My own beads from my waist beads had traveled from Nigeria and they were created in the 1920s. But the museum isn’t just about buying African beads. Dabls mission is “to create a space for his community to understand the immense power of their African heritage.” I wish I could put into words how important this museum is. I find it difficult to do so because of my own ignorance of African culture. I’m not completely sure of my own place in it but I know it’s a part of who I am. Here 2 shorts clips I was able to take with my phone.
Finding Myself in Detroit
I believe that we have the ability to discover new part of yourself when you visit a new city. When you visit a new place, you are able to experience new adventures, all the while discovering more about things you like and dislike as well as ideas that may not have had any significance before now hold a great importance. Unfortunately, many black American have had their African culture taken from them and we now have the duty to relearn the “African” portion of African American. Unfortunately, Africa is a large continent full of many countries, each with it’s own unique culture. To my knowledge, it is impossible to pinpoint where my ancestors have descended from. As a result, many people like myself cling to any piece of African culture we have access to. For me, this looks like learning about food products that promote health in Africans. Additionally, hair and skin products that cater towards the needs of our hair and skin.