There were cars everywhere. I had to find parking on the other side of the park and walk across to the annual gathering of bikers. The large trees were lovely as they provided gentle shade in the park. Once I found my friend, we began to stroll around as she greeted her brethren. Biker vests and bandannas were everywhere as people congregated under tents getting food. The DJ was blasting loud music and cigars of various sizes were lit. The biker clubs had come together for some Sunday fun and were enjoying the fellowship. I recognized this as a sub culture within Black America.
It was nothing short production. It looked like a family reunion. People were catching up with each other. There were some flashy outfits while others chose to match each other in club unity. As I made a plate for myself, I noticed how popular eye lashes were. I joined my friend on the bleachers and chilled. It was easy to see how romantic relationships were born from these connections and how people were remembered in death. Life was before my eyes, and it made me look at my own from a different perspective.
I do not feel as if I had this growing up in Miami. Somehow, I do not seem to have connected to a community. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I do not fit anywhere. It is now that I understand why my parents were always complaining that I did not have any black friends. When I found myself in an interracial relationship, my family abandoned me. I remember my father’s friends telling me, “Oh, you sound like a little white girl.” Never say this to a young black child. I sounded like me. That is an awful thing to say.
There were potential connections in place that never worked. I was the musician at a black church; however, church always confused me. It did not speak to me with the faith that everyone else seemed to have. My high school had many black students that I spent time with, but close attachments never formed. College landed me at FIU which was the beginning of the end. Delta Sigma Theta was not accepting new members, and there was no one to date. My free spirited self soon found comfort in the arms of a man that was outside of my race. My father forgave me a year before he died.
I should have been sent to an HBCU for social purposes as well as to get away from my controlling mother. Work life brought a black best friend whom turned out to be a jealous insecure woman that was my enemy. It was not until graduate school that a somewhat familiar embrace occurred. Florida Memorial University had an education program for teachers that would fulfill my desire to earn a Master of Science in Reading. The immersion with my own community was a breath of new air as I was surrounded by others that looked like me and had similar aspirations. A an infamous trip to Jamaica with classmates was one that I will never forget. By that time, I had a black boyfriend but we were too different to be successful. The same was true with the rest of the black men that followed him.
My current life is more attached to the agenda of my community. There are black women in my circles as well as my professional life. Most of my health providers are black as well as my hair stylist, car washer, and contractor. Perhaps I lacked a cultural understanding of my own people growing up in my haste to learn about others. I failed to include myself. The memory of not wanting to wear African attire to elementary school is a shameful one. I wanted to look like others. This is part of why my mother transferred me to a school closer to home. She realized that the students around me did not look like me which was causing an identity problem. Due to my relationship with her, it was hard to hear these things.
My closet is filled with African attire these days. I am even thinking about attending church to be amongst my own people. Homecoming season is coming to a close, and Thanksgiving is next week. Black families will be gathering as I go to work. A smile will come across my face as I think about them praying over the turkey and judging the Mac and cheese. Grandmothers will be in the kitchen as kids sit at the kiddie table. New connections will bring about couples and someone will announce a pregnancy. It is all a part of life. As for me, I shall continue to cultivate one for myself. It is a never ending process as no one department in life has accommodated me. I never fit anywhere and that is okay.