A few weeks ago I was informed that I won a contest posted via Instagram by Palmers My prize was attending a brunch with DMV based influencers with roundtrip transportation provided by Uber as well as the complete new line of hair products, Natural Fusions (which is damn good by the way).
I could make this a fluff piece and only talk about the food and atmosphere or do a review of the products but if you have been a reader of my blog you know that I make every attempt to talk from my heart and so if you have questions about the products please feel free to ask but that’s not what this post is for.
I was nervous about this event and I could not pinpoint why. I do grapple with anxiety at times but I do pretty well in public. I let my nerves fuel me to at least have one meaningful conversation in a place where I may not know anyone. If that doesn’t work then I just leave if I feel overwhelmed. That wasn’t it. This was more of apprehension tinged with reality. The reality of my age.
I have a modest social media presence mixed with followers who knew of me because of my makeup artist life, or my loc life or just regular ol’ family and friends but by no means do I garner a huge following. That kinda works for me though because I prefer to play the background; I do my best observations there. But here I was embarking on an event where the room was full of beautiful young black women doing the damn thing with their businesses, brands and blogs and I was literally transported back to high school. Allow me to explain…
I began my high school career at Oxon Hill High School. That was a semi-easy transition (I was awkward AF y’all) because I had basically grown up in the area and knew a good amount of my classmates. About maybe a month or so in, my mother got a place in Largo, MD and so bye bye friends and familiarity and hello freshman entering a new HIGH SCHOOL where she knows not a soul.
Class time wasn’t too bad. I could be quiet and hunker down to focus on the lesson but entering Largo High in the middle of the first semester and being faced with your lunch break???? Oh gawd, I would try so hard to hide in the bathroom or roam the halls but would ultimately always be taken back to the lunchroom…full of loud laughing teens and cliques. Even worse, a few times an administrator meaning well would pick an upperclassman to take pity on me and serve as a hostess to introduce me to a table of peering eyes who felt sorry for me having no friends at that time. Torture.
This brunch prize was akin to that experience. Everything was fine until we had to go around the table and speak on our social media influence. Due to my proximity I went first, which was fine. I have no problems speaking in public, but as we went around the table I would focus on what these young women were working on, their future goals and the like and I realized I am now old guard at 40 years old.
I am not having a pity party by any means. When my beauty blog was active I did well – event invites, tons of free product, etc.; I accomplished a great deal when I was heavy into my makeup artist thing also and the way the beauty blogger/vlogger world works is its actually a pretty small community (or it was) of beauty influencers of color. We all knew each other and it was a sorority of sorts.
Though I had locs, I was never fully immersed in the natural hair community. I didn’t really have a routine to share, I did whatever to my locs and they did whatever back, and I loved them for that very reason. The women I was with that day with Palmer’s had a full arsenal of terms, lingo and routines to achieve certain things and all I could do was sit back, smile and nod. I couldn’t even interject much, I just wasn’t well-versed.
In high school once I found my voice I was always in the middle. Not an outcast and not part of the “in crowd”. I was cool with a good mix of people. I could fit in wherever for a good amount of time and then become scarce as needed to fit my level of comfort. I couldn’t do that during the brunch. When the time came to mingle I just kinda sat and took pics of the food or random interactions that I saw or I went to the bathroom a couple of times and scrolled my phone. We then had photo-op time outside. The other attendees did Boomerang videos or served as each other’s photographers; if you do a search you will see all of the gorgeous photos that were taken. I only did the photo with the large group of us. My OOTD pic is one that I took of myself.
I was reflecting on the experience and wondering why I felt like such a fish out of water and it was just that certain things don’t pique my interest the same anymore. I still love all things beauty; still get excited about new products and the like but having to be “on” is no longer my cup of tea. I want to have fun freely. Everyone had beautiful outfits, hair and faces painted to perfection; I was trying to contend with a personal summer and the REAL summer so I was only about to serve a brow, some under eye concealer and lip gloss. I still felt cute, loved my outfit and enjoyed hearing the stories of everyone but this is my happy place. Here I do not have to share anything to please a brand or meet a publishing deadline anymore. Here I can be barefaced or cake faced as I please. I can write or not write and all will be well with me.
I am fine taking it all in and observing as I sip my beverage of choice.