Brighton, England … The Royal Pavillion
The Roman Baths house was a Roman site for public bathing. The water was naturally heated by the earth. People believed that this is where healing waters flow.
LiaLia is not only in London, but all throughout Europe & it is time I make mention of how I’m living in my skin.
I’m experiencing my blackness in a whole other way. There is a huge difference from me being just a little black girl from Baltimore in America and being that in Europe. I could start by talking about what it means to be simply that in London, but it all becomes even more complicated as I travel from Amsterdam to Paris and throughout.
Our skin forecasts prejudices and sets social markers on how we identify and relate with one another. For sure, this is a fact that I am very familiar with. I have often found myself at those crossroads, but now I am faced with peeling back another layer that I have found the utmost insecurity in. I know my race, but not a single clue about my ethnicity. I have asked my parents and grandparents, but these matters are personal. As dysfunctional as it may seem, it is the standard of my living and I am sure most of my friends back at home in Baltimore can closely identify with me…. But now more than ever the question is like a loud emergency siren ringing out in my head- What has happened through the years? And why can’t I trace back my ancestry via my lineage? Where and when were the lines of communication blurred? I have given it much thought and it isn’t rocket science considering the structure of my family…
Nonetheless, as it pertains to the most people that I have come in contact with here, this is the furthest thought from their mind. As I have experienced it here, when people meet you, they greet and then ask you where you’re from. They want to know what parts of the world you come from. Saying that I am from the U.S.- Baltimore, Maryland, simply isn’t enough. In Europe (as I’ve experienced it) the implications of my brown skin ostensibly suggest that I am from a particular part of Africa, just as any other black or brown person- and from that basis is the premise of which people build community.
I find that when I tell people that I am from Baltimore, Maryland, in the US and that information is all that I have to give, they’re baffled. In a way it seems as though they’re either disappointed or confused. I have run into this often over the past few months as I’ve met people in the most formal settings at dinners and auctions, to the most informal places such as the bus, the train, the underground tube, or a coffee shop. It is a remarkable feeling of emptiness and I have begun to despise it! It always seems to come up and it is something that I can’t seem to escape. I have explained it to friends from back home and they don’t seem to share my sentiment, let alone understand the urgency of the matter. A few months ago this is what I wrote to a friend:
“Any whooo have I mentioned anything to u about being here as a black/African American person amongst a bunch of Europeans and Afro-Carribbeans and how strange It is to not know your heritage? Today I was stopped 5 times- People asking me what part of Africa I’m from … In fact, two people came up to me speaking French & it’s the Worst feeling – there’s a huge disconnect in being able to communicate and relate and then I feel so dumb when I tell them I don’t know what part of Africa or that I’m unable to trace my ancestry
Conclusion- Over here it goes far beyond just being ‘Black’ – this isn’t the typical American boiling pot …
God puts His ‘Super’ on my “Natural” & He gets the glory every time! Some things just can’t be explained but here let me try-
I’m realizing I met something like 2angels yesterday; 2 women in H&M clothing store! they stopped me to compliment my beauty; I was super flattered- elated! She had just made my day! &(as if that wasn’t enough) she tapped her friend and they said ya know its something about u & I said I’m not sure what u mean& she said there’s a lightness about you- your presence& I said oh that might be Jesus, I’m saved! & she said I knew it, you’re glowing and His favor is upon you, sweety. She said “a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” (That’s from Matthew 5: 14) & I laughed smiled and got teary eyed &we talked in the middle of the store for about 20 min and then she prayed and spoke blessings over my life! (Ha! imagine that)! We exchanged contact information and we plan to meet up at least once before I leave in a few weeks. What an amazing experience …
Of all my “liainlondon” experiences this was the most remarkable, by far and I will never forget it. ..That is why I say He is *AMAZING* you might think I’m a creep or think it was a coincedence but nahh it was a predestined moment by Him… But above all this was confirmation- a love tap from God saying I see you and that your living isn’t going in vain! I have honestly been living much better and walking in faith. I’ve visited quite a few churches since I’ve been here. I found a temporary home at Ruach Ministries church. The spirit is alwaysHigh & I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong thirst to be in the house of the Lord ever in my life. Nonetheless, it was just last Sunday that Pastor Penny preached from Matthew Chapter 5. She preached about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world… & so to have encountered this experience 7days later was absolutely amazing! The lady quoted the exact scripture that Pastor Penny preached on& so If this wasn’t confirmation then I don’t what was! I’m so grateful to have His countenance, peace, grace, and presence upon me. Thank u, Lord!
& please don’t misinterpret my intensions. I’m not boasting or bragging, just sharing His goodness!