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Turning the Page: IMsL Reflections

April 23, 2010

Here it is a week since IMsL and I am still trying to find the words to express what this event did for me. I always knew it was going to be life altering but, I had no idea it would be this significant on the inside.

This was my first IMsL, my first trip to San Francisco, my first “woman event” and of course being a true masochist I had to run for a title. To be honest I couldn’t think of a better thing to do. As someone pointed out to me I always did tend to jump into the deep end.

I learned alot about myself. That when I submerge myself I do truly feel like I am at my best. I only hit a wall once and that was on Friday night. So much to do and still so much more to do. When I was working on bootblacking I was in my zone. I was proud of every job I did.  I’m not ashamed to say I felt I kicked ass. I think we both felt that we were giving 120% all weekend and to have it be such a close contest says alot about the both of us.

I usually find it very difficult to bond with women. My past experiences with them make it hard sometimes but at this event, these people, staff, den family, attendees, fellow classmates I felt an instant camaraderie. Instant family and tribe which is rare for me. Everybody I came into contact with be it through the contest or people who sat in my chair I felt a deep connection. Everything had meaning.

Even though I didn’t win I felt a strong sense of pride for what we did. I have come away from this title run with a strong sense of self. That the next 12 months will be focusing on a simple yet difficult concept for so many of us; Not accepting who we are but embracing it. I decided 6 years ago to identify as a femme who bootblacked.  To be girl about it. To be true to myself. This was something that I wanted to do from day one of deciding to run for IMsBB. I’ve never wavered from that. I know alot people have tried to tell me to play the game but I feel that would be a discredit not just to myself but those that came before.  Last year 3 femmes ran for IMsBB. It was that action that gave me the courage to run this year. The fact that I had history of bootblacks such as Michael Ann and Elegant and Pony to pull strength from.  Their strength in this community as well as my other sisters in the bootblack community have shown me and all of us that we are not a fluke. We are not a fad. We are a part of the evolution of this community and I am proud to be a part of it.

IMsL has given me a new-found strength. A fire within that has been dormant for a couple of years now.  I am grateful for that and excited where it might take me. I already have great things to work on. Excited. I said it alot during IMsL and I think it will be my mantra for the rest of the year…..


Thank you everyone. This has been amazing…..and we have only just begun. 🙂

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