Photo Inspiration: Misty Copeland

In the shadows I stand,

While watching her perform the perfect pirouette before gracefully taking a bow.

My black swan rises regally like the Queen she is.

Receiving the standing ovation she rightfully earned after breaking down barrier after barrier so that those that look like her will have hope for their future.

My heart is filled with pride as the spotlight highlights her features and she responds with a coy smile like the professional that she is.

A coy smile that I see through from many nights of watching her from this spot.

I see what no one else sees.

The little melanin girl that is now the face of the ballet world.

Most importantly, the woman who holds the only place in my heart filled with love.

She exits the stage as the curtains close.

My hand reaches out to her; She readily accepts as I take her in my arms and whisper in her ear,

“I love you. Let’s go home my little ballerina.”

They say you never miss something until it’s gone.

In our case you’ve e been gone a long time.

Too long for me to continue to miss.

Physically you are here, but mentally you’re two blocks over.

Happily engaged with a one night stand that became a newfound fixture in your life.

A simplicity you decided could no longer be found at the home we built.

The home whose foundation wasn’t as solid as you promised.

So now the home is shifted, stairs tattered, and paint chipped from the years of being unhappy and neglected.

Years of thoughtless coming and going for the sake of a marriage that just wasn’t it anymore.

Until you finally come home to the eerie silence and cold stove.

Finally taking notice of the batter house that you used to call a home.

A house that is now empty as you call out my name only to be met once again with silence.

A silence that wouldn’t have greeted you if you had only made it home 5 minutes sooner to see me walking out the door with my suitcase in hand.

The tears running down my face as I mourned the death of the old me that loved you.

The man I thought I’d spend forever with.

The man that now sits at the dinner table thinking about all he will now miss.

All that he can’t get from two blocks over.

The unconditional love that he had, but now it’s gone.

Artist Unknown

Standing here now, I only have one thought in mind, “I am not who I once used to be.”

The reflection staring back in the mirror is strikingly different these many years later.

My rich chocolate skin is now a tad darker,

Processed hair now transitioned to locs,

Slim shape graduated to thick and curvy,

A complete sign of evolution.

Peeling off the layers of clothing like the layers of my past that I fought so hard to overcome is like a weight lifting to finally reveal what I have been waiting so long to see.

My naked truth.

A truth I had so long hidden with baggy clothes that gave me the ability to physically feel all the years of self doubt and hated that society inflicted on me internally.

Taking years and years of my life as I sat through therapy learning that I am not the problem.

But now I get.

Right here in this moment, in all my glory, I can smile.

And it is genuine.

Because I have overcame and silenced the noise of all those who don’t matter.

I have finally learned to love me.