I remember where I was when I received the call: at my dining table working on my laptop. My two teenagers were sitting on our couch fiddling on their phone… the TV blasting in the background.
It was a typical summer day during COVID. The city remained pretty shut down, we were still freaked out about being close to strangers, wearing masks and washing our hands a million times per day.
Just a month or so prior one of my business mentors forwarded me an email. QVC (yea, QVC!!), HSN and their parent company, The Qurate Retail Group were looking for Black owned businesses to spotlight and, on a whim, I applied.
Using their platform to spotlight black owned businesses was their response to the recent uprisings, racial injustice, and general obstacles to opportunities in the Black Community. Now, you may not know this about me but I apply to everything! While I generally check if I am qualified; I can make no promises that I will not apply for a grant, residency, award or contest even if I am completely unqualified for it on paper.
As a matter of fact, most of the traditional jobs I have landed were “out of my league” on paper. You just never know! Most people DON’T apply; they talk themselves out of even the opportunities that they ARE qualified for, so… I have trained myself to STOP AND APPLY as soon as I see an opportunity.
It has generally worked out in my favor. Do I land every deal, grant or residency? No; but I would’ve definitely missed opportunities had I never applied to the dozens of applications that have crossed my email inbox. So I “say all that to say” that I made sure to apply to this QVC/HSN opportunity even though I never thought I would get it.
I wish I could say that I applied with confidence...
What did she say?...
Yea. You heard me right,...Before you dismiss it, judge it, or try to figure out what Kool-Aid I drank today, let me explain. Please. Please let me explain. First, let me be sure to share that I am not a yoga expert, practitioner or even a reasonably good yoga student. Second, know that there is a method to my madness... I am sure you are wondering how long I will take to get to it already!
sI have practiced yoga off and on since my now 16 year old son was born. Initially it was used as a way to relax and reset my system. My pregnancy was especially amazing and stressful at the same time. I really found peace and a place to restore my sanity even if only for the hour during the classes. As I returned to yoga over the years, whether in a class or via YouTube with my daughter following along (that was fun and cute!), there has always been this one concept that I have heard repeated over and over... "Strength and softness", "be strong and soft", or some other variation. Coming from a family of strong black women, (my grandmother raised 5 children solo for the most part while building a business, my aunt runs a business while raising children and keeping a home for her and her husband, my mother raised me as a single mother building her business, and the list goes on and on) it was not a question of what type of woman I would be. There was a single phrase I remember my grandmother drilling into me over the years:
BEHIND THE BRUSH