9218 South Drexel – Girl of the Southside


WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US.  (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – JANUARY 20: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

9218 South Drexel. (unedited. free write.)

I can’t tell you the last time I have set foot on South Drexel Avenue.  I don’t even remember much of what the house looked like. I vaguely remember a porch, the couches, the kitchen, a certain smell, and some … well, maybe, all of the rooms. My memory of it is muddled by age, the forgiving grace of forgetting, and all the lives I’ve lived before.

But desipite all this Despite the many, many homes in which I have lived and loved, 9218 S Drexel Ave, Chicago, IL 60619 is in my blood.

It is the first place I ever called home. It is the place where Kafui, Edna, Shadrach, and Teddy Amegashie brought home a newborn baby and raised their first hope-filled American.

Me.

Just another Girl of the Southside of Chicago.

9218 South Drexel is the place that I have my earliest memories of love, pain, laughter, sorrow, joy, and, well… Life.  Just as loudly and proudly as Accra, Keta, Bolingbrook, Columbia, Rogers Park,  Albany Park, West Ridge, and now super suburban Plainfield lives within me… The southside of Chicago beats within my veins and will remain entwined in my life.

***

When I was 17, I was a girl of burbs, the president of my senior high school class, and I wanted to be the President of the World. Well, obviously not the world but I wanted to be the President of the United States of America… and right or wrong, in way too many ways, the President of the United States and the President of the World are kind of the same thing.

Today, I’m 37 and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that both 17 and 37 year old Senam got some sense about themselves and chose better for us… Watching these past eight years with Barack, and this 2016 election cycle with Hilary has taught me that politics is nothing but a dirty, dirty game and I just don’t want to play.

I could I but I won’t.

***

On the night that Barack Obama, was elected President of the United States, I was on the 2nd floor of a six- flat on Hoyne Ave in Chicago, IL. I was married, 29 years old and sitting in my bed wearing nothing but a pair of mesh post pregnancy underwear uncomfortably stuffed with one of those horribly uncomfortable after birth pads. I was naked from the waist up trying my very damnedest to exclusively breastfeed two little brown babies that had been born a mere 6 days before. I was exhausted, discouraged, delirious, incredulous, broken, and 100% convinced that he would NOT win.

When it came across the screen, I wasn’t paying attention. I was likely preoccupied with trying to cross-cradle or football hold one twin or the other into a good latch, while trying to keep track of which feeding had happened to whom, and who would need which set of jaundice lights when, and doing whatever I could to convince my 2 year old that her twin brothers were not her twin toys… So I missed the first few seconds it was on the screen.  But then I felt a slap on my arm, I looked up to see my husband both gawking and pointing at our television screen.

I looked at the screen and I slapped his arm right back. 

What was happening? He won? Wait? He won? He WON?

He Won.

He did.

I cried like my babies that night. Tears full of postpartum hormones, exhaustion, joy, possibility, fear, and mostly sheer disbelief.

My president was Black and his wife was, too.

Unbelievable.

***

I love amazing people. People who defy the odds, the world, their own limitations, and turn their lives into something spectacular.

Muhammad Ali.

Maya Angelou.

Oprah Winfrey.

Barack Obama.

And most recently. Girl of the southside.

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.

I want to write something that will encapsulate what Michelle Obama means to me but I could write and write and write again and I will never ever be able to give her what is due. And while I don’t know if it fits what I have been able to write today. The thing I want to say to you about the thing about Michelle is…

With the unparalleled levels of intellect, excellence, grace and flawless victory she injected into her every move at the White House, we all now know that Michelle Obama would and could be the most amazing President of the United States of America.

She could but she won’t.

Because as every girl of the southside is fighting so fiercely to do… Michelle Obama fought to give herself a wealth of options….so she could choose what was best for herself.

Luckily for Barack and for all of us, that meant this amazing person chose to spend 8 years of her life at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave trying to become the most spectacular First Lady that is, was, and ever will be.

She did.

Unbelievable.

***

Tonight is exactly 2998 days from the night that Barack Obama was elected. And tonight is the last night that Barack Obama will be the President of the United States of America.  And tonight is the last night that Michelle Obama will be the First Lady of Our World.

Tonight, Those twin babies are 8 and that 2-year-old is 10.

Tonight, in about 30 or so minutes all three of them will come bounding back in from a visit from my ex-husband’s house back to my house in Plainfield.

Tonight, 17-year-old Senam, 29-year-old Senam, and 37-year-old Senam, are sitting on a bed typing these words in much better underwear, smack dab in the middle of a life that I was 100% convinced that I could NOT win …

But if you recall… one of the women I am is a girl from the southside… The past 8 years of my life, whether I knew it or not, consciously or subconsciously, have been about me making the good and bad choices that are all leading me towards the most spectacular me, I can be.  One of me , would always find what I needed to propel all me to continue to fight fiercely for the options, I wanted and needed so I could win my life.Because even on days when all the women in me were exhausted, discouraged, delirious, incredulous and broken… On days when life would lay me low, one of us would manage to remind me that if I wanted to… I could always choose to go high.

Because even on days when all the women in me were exhausted, discouraged, delirious, incredulous and broken… On days when life would lay me low, one of us would manage to remind me that if I wanted to… I could always choose to go high.

I did.

Unbelievable.

***

Tomorrow, nothing and everything changes.

Likely, tomorrow me, you, and every man, woman, frog or dog who knows what we are up against…is going feel, exhausted, delirious, incredulous, broken, and 100% convinced that we will NOT win.

But then the day after that….  the sun will rise and all of the hope-filled Americans that are somewhere within us all, will also rise and be fired up and ready to go.

Again.

And then we will choose to get back into the fierce fight for the most spectacular lives we can live…. and the most spectacular America we can create.

We will not be afraid. We will be focused. We will be determined. We will be hopeful. We will be empowered.

Eventually, we will win. I don’t know how. And I don’t know when, but I do know that it will be…

Unbelievable.

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Welcome, Darling... So I'm supposed to write something really amazing here... But in the words of the greatest philospher of our time... Ain't nobody got time for that. I kid. I kid. Kinda. I'll update this someday... but for the time being... Just click around... and remember... SistaTV Loves You!

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1. Hey Senam, Ain't you supposed to be ack-ing a whoolllleee entire "living ya best life. What yo name is?" FOOL at the #SilverRoomBlockParty? Yes. Yes I am buttttt.... ??? 2. My block party fit and fragrance combo was certain to have somebody's son tongue tied and singing Jagged Edge before I made it to the end of the block #weaintgettingnoyounger #wemightaswelldoit  #raincheckmeboo #godblockedit

3. Instead... I'm about to put on a level four Hazmat suit, gloves, and the armor of the lawd.... smelling like Lysol, Bleach, and eau de hand sanitizer.  #nottoday 
4. Everybody relax... we are currently quarantined and contagious but they are fine. We are home now and all is well. #wayupifeelblessed

5. All three little birds are at least 100000 feet taller, bigger, smarter, cuter and more everything than when they left. #howsway 
6. We have snacks on snacks on snacks, Netflix, plenty of meds, wifi, and each other.... Ain't no other place I'd rather be. #iwonthekidlottery 
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1. When I was house hunting... I wanted a porch soooo bad... but I would think... "come on... Senam? How you going to waste God's time asking for a whole entire Black Barbie dream house worth of stuff and then have the audacity to put a porch on top?" 2. A few weeks ago when I was shopping with Solstice. That foolywang said.... Hey mommy... how come you don't ever wear shorts? I was like "WhatEVER SUSSSS of course i wear sh-" buuuttt I couldn't think of a single solitary time in her 12 years of life that I for sure remembered being in shorts. 
3. I ordered 50-11 pairs in all lengths... 4. I been wearing them buuttt... tbh I been only wearing the longer ones out and about.
5. Brandy and Samantha have made it their life's work to constantly gas me up and insist I stop wearing so many damn clothes.... Kimmah has also joined the #issasnack choir. 
6. When I was younger MamaTV would always, always, always, call me Big Legs and say... "Looook at those big ole legs. Looookk at them...." She said it in Ewe and meant it in a good way but I didn't get then and I hated it so so much.
7. Next week, I'll be 39. Me and my big ole legs got my porch.... So...look at those big ole legs....Look at 'em. 
SistaTV loves you, 'Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself - what you're wearing, who you're around, what you're doing. Recreate and repeat.' -Warsan, and vacation soon.
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1. Sometimes when Clay sees me he says, " Hey, Best Friend!" and  we crack up laughing... #myclayclaytheflayflay #hedontplayabouthisbestfriend
 2. Solstice tried to pack everrrrryyyyy comb in the my bedroom and hers to take with her to camp. 5 combs for 12 days, Sis. Issa NO. #alsoissaME
3. Cassius is the most literal person I know. Me: Okay, we need to go at 11... Cassius is In the car seat belted at 10:56. No shoes. No teeth brushed and deodorant where? Butttt Mommy I was in the car at 10:56. You said we needed to go. #hesrightyouknow
4. They are the reason I know that God is real. #iwonthekidlottery #godissodope #threelittlebirds
5. Waaaayyyy up I feel blessed.
6. I have a million times more peace, joy, faith, abundance, happiness, health, and love than I ever could have imagined then. 
7. I am absolutely bursting with excitement and complete certainty that five years from know I'm going to have a billion times more of all of that and every good and wonderful thing I desire. #iveonlyseenafractionofafraction #greaterisminehereinthislife #areyoureadyforamiracle #readyasicanbe

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3. Cutting cable is one of the dopest things I've ever done.
4. Like excellent rap lyricists? Go to your favorite music streaming service & type in "Mark Ace WOLVES" and then search " Tobe Nwigwe I Choose You" and get your entire life.  #bars 
5. I'm about to call my mama and giggle with her. #hashtagblessed
6. One of my kinks is reading the captions and comments men post with the pictures of their wives/ girlfriends. They are usually both hilarious and really really sweet. I loveeee all of them. What can I say... I'm an endless romantic. #nothopeless #theonlylovewerecognizeisendless
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