We Have So Much Room to Grow

NIKAYLA EDMONDSON

I woke up at 6:30 this morning because I could not sleep. I got coffee. I listened to SZA’s ‘20 Something’ — that Ctrl album. That is such a Black girl, mid-20s anthem. Just like Solange’s A Seat at the Table is just such a — like, only a Black woman could feel and understand the lyrics and the tunes behind it, and the emotion.

 

My first job, I actually was a sales associate at Abercrombie & Fitch. And it’s very funny because when I reflect on things, I was hired because they didn’t have any Black sales associates — which, again, token Black girl in a lot of spaces. My demeanor is very strong. My facial features always read ‘bitch.’ Within Black culture alone, there’s colorism, and I’ve experienced it. But my mom has dark skin, so from my first memory about my identity, I can remember her telling us, ‘Don’t let nobody tell you that you’re not beautiful because you’re dark.’

 

Motherhood, I never feel judged. I will talk to my oldest daughter; I’m like, ‘Did that make you upset that I yelled?’ She’s like, ‘It’s fine. You’re having a day.’ She gets me, and that gives me energy. Always feeling like I need to explain myself versus just being — that takes my energy. I let a lot of things take energy off of me because I am a constant source of power.

 

 

I think I’m just trying to understand, one, what it means to be a woman. I’m trying to come into my own self. But to be a Black woman, I feel like it’s a whole other thing. We joke, like, ‘Oh, this is a quarter-life crisis,’ but it’s such a transition from everything you thought you knew yourself to be as an adult, from when you were 18, and then you were 21. It’s like, ‘OK, I’m a real adult.’ And we have so much room to grow.

 

I’m most passionate about my voice. I feel like it’s important for Black women to be heard. I am telling you how I feel about this because I need you to understand that I’m sad. And I was sad before I became angry. And I got angry because I felt like you guys didn’t see that I was sad. I didn’t feel seen.”

This is one of 26 interviews with Black women that ran in our 2020 No. 6 print issue.
Photos by Charlee Black.

 

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