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Thanksgiving in Summer



“They counted us out. They didn't think that we would make it. They didn't believe in us.

Oh, but I know God did.”

John Legend



The first week in August is when my family gets together to go to Talladega, Alabama. We do this in honor of celebrating the aunties birthday's. Last year instead of driving down to Alabama, we decided to take the plane. When we got to Atlanta, we rented a big black truck and drove ourselves down. When we reached my aunt's house, I was nervous. This was my first time re-joining the family in a while. But as soon as I stepped out of the car, all the nerves were gone. I was back at home now.



As I hugged each of my Aunts and glazed into their freckled brown faces, I saw tiny reflections of myself in each of their faces. Not wanting to get emotional, I quickly turned my attention to the spread before us. It was Thanksgiving in Summer complete with dressing, mac, and some red beans. We made plates, poured drinks, and gathered around the table. It wasn’t long before tales began to quickly unfold. Each one is more animated than the next. If anyone thought my Dad was funny. You have never met my Aunts.


Each has their own flare, quick wits, and distinctive voice. If my mother's side gifted me with the love of reading books. Then, my Dad's side is where I got my love for storytelling. It was on the front porch of B-Street where I learned there wasn’t a difference between the natural and supernatural world. It was there when I heard tales of giants who could kick ceilings with just a swing of a leg. On that porch, I learned that spells and magic were real. It’s funny how you can spend so much time questioning your path, not realizing that there have been breadcrumbs and clues all along.



This trip made me realize that everything about me, down to my love for the esoteric (my great-uncle was a voodoo priest), came from someone. My need to nurture and nourish comes from my Aunt B. My creative impulses and love for multiple projects directly relate to my Aunt T. My love for Mary Jane and my lioness protection is what my Aunt M gifted me—that weekend made me realize that my desires are physical manifestations of my ancestor’s dreams. They are not some random impulses. But something that has been developed and carried on throughout the blood. This trip to Talladega hit different because I got to return to my family’s land.


It’s funny how everything comes full circle. This land is where my ancestors built their own settlement. They had houses, a school, a convenience store, and even a church. I got to walk the steps of that church and put my finger over each of their names. I got to read the history of the different iterations of the place. I got to walk the land where my ancestors laid and read tombstones from over a hundred years old. When we left the church, we rode through the city where the family's history expanded back to a hundred and fifty years. My Dad looked at me with his classic smile and said, "Girl, you got roots! Never forget that you are somebody!”


Little did he know that was exactly what I needed to hear. I come from a lineage of people who built a whole community with their bare hands. They made something out of nothing. Learning this information was like unlocking and integrating new parts of myself. It put my soul at ease. It made sense why I believe, think, and move like I do. It even made sense why I feel so close to my Granddaddy now. I am a part of his legacy. Of course, he will do everything in his power to help me carry it out! This trip validated me and everything I am working to become.


When everyone was peeing in outhouses, my Granddaddy Elmer had built in-house plumbing for his family. With only a fifth-grade education, he still became a Master Mechanic. When he got laid off, he decided he didn’t want to work for anyone and never did. He left this Earth as a self-made man. He did all that on pure intuition and instinct. All that genius got baked into me. But it’s not just my family. I'm sure you can think about your family and find stories of triumph. This trip made me realize that the United States makes it seem like black people don’t belong here. Like this country isn’t our home. But it is.



Our ancestors placed roots and created traditions in this place. Yes, we can go back to Africa and connect the dots. But it is here in this blood-soaked soil that our legacy and journey begins. Our ancestors worked, bled, and built this country with their bare hands. If anybody should be claiming ownership of her, it’s us. We must fight to save her. That fight doesn’t have to be marching in the street, but by answering the calling on your life. When you answer the call, you are not only birthing new realities for you. But for everyone who gets the benefit of observing you. We as a people, cannot overcome our current circumstances by begging someone to see our worth.


We must first find that worth within ourselves. That is our job as individuals here on Earth. That weekend gave me the energy to pursue my dreams, not just for me but my family. It also made me want to return to rebuild my ancestor's land. So that one day I can take my children and tell them all about their roots. Currently, our country is crying out in pain. It seem like every corner of the world is at war. We’re in the middle of a mental health and labor crisis. It is clear that the systems this country was built on are no longer working. Every branch of society is breaking down, which means now is the time to rebuild.



It's on us to become the change that we want to see in the world. It’s on us to save this country. Which means that each one of us have to do our part. Some of us will be like Malcom X, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. While others will be like my family, building thriving communities and schools. No matter how big or small your dream (or role) may be, it is all a part of the grand design. We all have a part to play and now isn't the time to doubt yourself because it is through the chaos of destruction that new worlds are built.


Now is the time we’ve been waiting for! It is a time to be brave, to be different and inventive. It’s a time if you dare to change your reality and shift your perspective. You can do it by putting your energy towards the things and the people you love. Channel your frustrations into building new worlds because it is our birthright to realize our dreams. It is your divine right to have prosperity. My favorite card in my Money & Law of Attraction deck is Achieving Success Is My Natural Birthright.



The card says: "You are meant to succeed and failure should feel bad to you. Life is supposed to go well for you- and when it does not, there is something wrong. But what is wrong is not something that is outside of you over which you have no control. What is wrong is within you- and you have control. By taking control is not difficult to do once you understand the basis of who-you-are, the basics of the Law of Attraction and the value of your personal Emotional Guidance System."

Talladega reminded me of that and now I am reminding you!


-AM



JOURNAL PROMPT:

  • Do you have a dream or idea that has followed you since childhood?

  • Have you pursued it? Why or why not?

  • What's one step can you take to make it a reality?

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