Your Presence is a Gift

When it comes to your personal life, you get to decide who you want to be a part of it!

Caption: Checking out NOLA with my friend Laurinda. 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been friends. It doesn’t matter if you’re related. It doesn’t matter what they’ve done for you!

Caption: My bestie boo Kristie. We share a love of food, a love of laughter & the bond of Sigma Gamma Rho. She’s technically my sorority grandmother 😉 When I was in a tough situation she showed up in tennis shoes & sweats & she was ready to throw down lol. She’s been my ride or die ever since! 

I can get along with almost everybody, but when it comes to my circle of close friends I am very selective. I have an added layer because my husband & I are semi-public figures, so I can’t go spilling all of my secrets & challenges just to anybody! I also compartmentalize my relationships. When it comes to work, I have “work friends.” Of course there is a certain level of comraderie & trust that you have to have with your work colleagues, but there is also a certain boundary that is necessary to allow you to do your job effectively. 

Caption: My friend Kris who inspires me so much with Kristie & I. I believe we were at the Bad Boy Reunion Concert & this framed photo was one of my Christmas gifts from Kris. Kris is a great listener & like me she’s not from Chicago. We share a similar value system & we love to talk! 

When it comes to my personal friends, my girls are amazing! They have been in the delivery room when I miscarried at 5 months pregnant. They allowed me to move in with them when I was in transition with my ex husband. They pick up the phone when I’m in tears or need to talk through a challenge that I’m having. They affirm me. They love me unconditionally. They tell me when I’m wrong, and they are in the corner cheering when I’m right. 

Caption: Me & my friend Alex who I met through a fellowship program! She makes me laugh & is one of my favorite people to travel with. Alex is building a boarding school in Ghana for African American children to study abroad. She’s also Harvard Educated, she’s a teacher, I could go on & on. I ❤ her. 

In so many ways, my closest friends are a reflection of my values and my hopes for my life. They keep me anchored to the ground, no matter how high my ambition allows me to go.

Caption: Me & my friend Gina! Gina has one of the sweetest spirits but she is so committed to her work! She’s also very perceptive & fierce! I love her! Gina founded Essie Justice Group, which supports women with incarcerated loved ones. 

If someone is making you unhappy or hurting you, address it. If you can’t come to a resolution, then you may decide that person doesn’t deserve the gift of your presence, so proceed accordingly. All of my favorite friends are fierce & most importantly they accept me & love me as my whole & complete self! 

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