A friend of mine invited me to a girls-only lingerie party for New Years Eve. I’m single now, so I figured I’d go and get used to these types of celebrations. After all, my actions thus far has me headed toward a life of cats and ornate tea steepers. Luckily the party wasn’t a lonely-bitch parade at all. It wasn’t an ovary fueled man-hating session, either. Instead it’s something I’ll refer to from here on out as a Feminine Energy Party (FEP). We ate, drank, danced, and lounged around in strappy negligees. As the night wore on, edibles were consumed, heels got kicked off, and makeup was removed. Ultimately, we wrung in 2017 as carefree as we had intended. I would definitely hit up another FEP, and I’d highly recommend it.
I will admit that we took a lot of risque snaps. But that’s the only thing we did that resembled our behaviour on a girls’ night out. I guess the difference between those nights and this FEP was that there weren’t any outside stressors because there really weren’t any outside factors. We simply showed up, laced ourselves into teddies, corsets, and bodystockings, and chilled out. The food was good, Mariah was horrible, and we watched the ball drop without any drama.
But we also got caught up on each other’s lives and shared our plans for the year. I was in a room full of women who are educators, grass roots organizers, public relations folk, and performing artists…all whom just happen to know how to twerk. So of course we took an audio trip down memory lane with a playlist that had its fair share of pre-Nicki Cash Money, Three Six Mafia, and Destiny’s Child. Then, about three hours into our shindig, the magic happened. We hit a groove in our little soiree, and it’s a groove I know all too well. It’s a moment when the laughter dies down a bit, the room is thick with haze, and everyone is delved into their mode so deeply that their eyes are closed and their heads are bobbing to the music. I can even pinpoint the song that soundtracked our moment: Solange’s “F.U.B.U.”
The tea lights flickered against the beige curtains in our dim suite and there were empty champagne flutes crowding each lamp table by the time the song came on. I mostly watched the light dance off a silvery pile of tinsel on the floor, but I did look up every few seconds to take in the scene or snap a picture. Everyone listened intently until it came time to mouth the words to the hook, which we instinctively sang in unison because it summed up our mindset in the moment, and perhaps for the prior year.
“All my n*ggas in the whole wide world…”
Solange’s voice fluttered over the words sweetly, unapologetically. And our ears sipped it into our thoughts in a special way because we were a room full of African-American, Afro-Latina, and Middle Eastern women, all variations of brown. We have a collective pain and a shared resilience that we’re coated with because we require it to live life as an ‘other’ in this country, and perhaps “in the whole wide world.”
Plus, the specifics of this shindig called for exclusivity. Not a malicious brand of exclusivity, but the type that fostered us being able to let our hair down in a space where we could fully be ourselves. It was a space we constructed from our bonded good energy, and we built it without eggshells on the floor. We danced and spoke freely.
I have to acknowledge that it isn’t often I get to experience my friends in a festive setting and celebrate in a space that isn’t about showing up for male consumption. I literally have three; my yoga class, my masjid…and this FEP makes the third. But our pageantry on NYE was for our enjoyment alone. It was for pictures that we’ll hopefully get to show our grandkids. I know I’ll stash mine in a lockbox and store it in the attic of the ballin’ ass, Jetson-esque structure I’ll live in by then. One day when my hands are transparent and frail I’ll whip it out and show my grandkids the very feminine, black asf moments I had in my thirties with a handful of women I met while making music in my late twenties. I’ll bring that lockbox (or Black Mirror style eyeball projection file thingy, if it’s out by then) out on a New Years Eve when they’re old enough to get that their beloved Grandma did indeed smokeh-de-ganja back in the day.
The latter were my thoughts as we continued to sing and hum the hook.
For a moment I zoned out and also thought about what I’d lost in 2016, and about how uncertain I was about some of the choices I’d made by the end of it. But I forced myself to recall my triumphs too, and focused on forgiving myself enough to shake of the paralysis that comes from trying and failing. I reminded myself that my decisions are mine to make, and that made me smile. I just smiled with my eyes closed and gently tapped the toes of my thigh high boots on the carpet as I did.
At this point I’ve accepted that I can get through everything alone if I have to. That’s black woman shit, after all…but I’d rather not. I’d much rather link up with my sisters–blood and otherwise–and rejoice in spending time with women whom I know are bound by who we are, what we’ve experienced, and what we’re capable of becoming.
Last year was joyful and rocky, but for right now I ain’t mad at where I’m at. I take love from all its conduits. My circle is squad goals. We’re a constellation of talented, beautiful stars.
As for 2017?
“…this sh*t is for us.”