Bundled up in an over-sized, over-fluffed dressing gown, Shan smirks slightly as she says to me, “I’ll tell you a story.” And, wrapping both arms about my legs, I settle in: I’ve learned that a story from Shanna White is a story worth listening to.
Latisha Gayle was born on February 20th during the early 80s. She was raised by her grandmother and her dad was Jamaican. Miss Gayle is one of 24 children. She went on her own at 13 years old. This shaped Miss Gayle into the woman that she is. You might be wondering why I refer to Latisha as Miss Gayle?
We all experienced a fake friendship, right? Or maybe you haven’t noticed who your real friends are. You thought that she was being faithful to you. Or you thought so. Turns out she wasn't. You didn't know this person was being fake to you. All this time she was talking behind your back. Saying awful things about you. Which aren’t even true. None of this is true. How would you feel? You feel some type of way right? You feel hurt, knowing that you did everything to help this person. You did the impossible for her. You think to yourself for a moment. Was that even enough for her? or was it a waste of time to her?
Rayssa is a girl with stars in her eyes. Literally. We were in the same class in art school, and the professor asked us to make a portfolio with the theme of "imperfect beauty". What I made was about mental illness, what Rayssa made was about birthmarks. She has a small birthmark on her calf. The cover of her portfolio is her own beautiful blue eyes. If you look closely, you will see a star-shaped dot in those blue eyes. That is her other birthmark. Rayssa is a girl with a star-shaped birthmark in her eyes.
Most people say they have been inspired by Women of History like Rosa Parks, Emmeline Pankhurst or Emily Davison. Some may say that Women closer to home have inspired them like their Grandma’s, Mothers, Sisters & Auntie’s. Perhaps for some it is a complete stranger, or the postie or their neighbour two doors down!
Have you ever met someone who just oozes style and encapsulates the word boss from the very moment you meet them? Well I have and she is the very reason I’m sitting here and writing this post today.
I started working for her in August 2018. I was in visiting family in Scotland the fist time I spoke to her. The first time we met in person on shift we clicked instantly, and we got along well. We would call each other names, things that employees and employers should not call each other, but we both knew it was all just a bit of fun.
You know those beautiful moments in life when you sit down next to someone, seemingly a stranger, you both spark up a conversation and within an instant it feels as if you guys are just picking up where a previous conversation had left off? That was the immediate bond my best friend Teza and I had when we met. I was at such an insane point in my life when my path crossed with Teza’s. I was heavily involved in the nightlife scene where my only focus was on what party or afters was happening next. I lived over 5,000 miles away from my family and childhood friends and had really lost touch with a lot of those relationships. I surrounded myself with empty friendships and surface-level relationships; however to me, that was all I knew and accepted as normal. But then Teza came into my life. Suddenly I had someone calling and texting me daily just to check in and see how I was doing. I had someone who wanted me right there with them not only to go out on the town with, but to chill at home, share a bowl and some wine, and stay up all night talking with. We instantly became known as an automatic duo. Attached at the hip. A package deal. And it was very soon that I realized that Teza didn’t just show me love by hanging out with me and checking in on me, she showed it by genuinely having my back.
Ahhh, 2018... Lots of ups and downs, mostly downs but I made lemonade from the lemons that I was given but it wasn't lemonade I'd drink. I got booted out of the house I was living at the time with my family, I didn't have anywhere to stay so I ended up staying with my grandmother and my uncle, a good friend of mine from high school died, and I lost a really good friend of mine because she got married. My life drastically changed but the only good things that I had going for me were that I was going to community college to finish getting my degree and my best friend at the time, we'll call her... Josie.
In a 55th Street Playhouse Chantal Akerman is stealing half the ticket sales a night as a cashier at a porn theater. It’s 1972 and I’m not even a thought in my parents’ minds. Yet what Chantal does twenty years before I come screaming into this world would forever change the course of my adult life.