So, who am I?
And, the FreeeeDomTOUR?
A crystal wearing daughter, aunt, sister, friend; a sage-burning wife, niece, special education teacher, artivist, writer; a twerk for resistance type of witness, a photographer, a fitness enthusiast and motivator, a business owner, a catalyst; creatress, manifestress . . . on a quest,
the discarded bits and
to the whole
The freeeeDomTour is the audacity to show up as who you are. It is journeying to move in alignment with a fully-integrated mind, body, and essence.
this journey says yaaaasss to:
I used to show up in the world as some compartment of myself way too comfortably and way too often. It was safe t h e n EXHAUSTING! The pieces others saw value in and validated got light and love while I shadowed those “less desirable bits.” One day, I just had to ask myself, "Self, how’s that working for you?" It wasn’t, lemme tell ya! In fact, I had it to thank for the anxiety, depression, and near nervous breakdown a few years back.
It was clear, I had to:
2. Make a CHOICE
Now, it’s not like I’ve arrived at place of all-knowing, being, and breathing as a fully integrated self, but CHIL’, being on my way has certainly been delicious! This journey is a fascinating one. Full of fumbles, stumbles, words I won't take back, and well, victories. Sometimes, victories like: I got out of bed this morning . . .
The freeeedomtour was deciding TODAY IS THE DAY THE HEALING BEGINS.
Expect new ground under your feet
New sounds dancing in and around you
New smells, new textures, new walls
New people to be curious about
New tasks to get lost in
Love on them dimples, pimples, lumps and bumps in ya rump😳🤷🏾♀️🤸🏾♀️❤. Every scar, a document. Every bruise, proof of your humanity. Evey piece, affirmed. Let us reconnect with our own joy, excitement, creativity, and inspiration. Let us live IN our bodies again and be empowered by deep gratitude and appreciation for the only temple de corpus we'll have during this particular earth walk. Let us take back those pieces we had given to loves who, well, didn't . . . . feel yourSELF again and know! Retreat into self for the sake of self. Prune that which ceases to serve you, lick your wounds, laugh as often as possible and . . . breathe chil’. Let our walk in the world and how we live it be sacred. #LETSGETTHISHEALINGFAM
Stephanie Blanch-Byer, M.S. Educational Leadership, M.S. Urban Education, is a New York City Public High School Special Education Teacher with more than 15 years of experience. Born and raised on Chicago’s Westside, poetry has been her way of "sorting out her stuff" since the third grade -- so she's happy to be here sorting it out with you! Her works are published at Iris Literary Journal and Beautiful Minds United: Honey Book. Started in April 2020, Black Gyrl Collective (BGC) is a poetry collective that began after she called on three of her Lyrical Goddesses to write for the healing creativity they bring. In addition to curating their own weekly writing space, community write-ins and monthly BGC poetry events, Stephanie has also facilitated writing and wellness workshops as a tool for healing for the Catalyst:Ed Network’s Black Woman’s Journey to Reclamation Series. Her multimedia poetry and prose can be found at the exhibition, Blacktivism: The New Generation in Washington, DC (since 2016). Some of her works have also been shared at: BlackOut (2020); La Mama Poetry Electric: Tribute to Toni Morrison(2019), Harlem Pride: Speak Your Myne(2019), Downbraiding: A Reading in Three Voices(2019), Still BOLD (2019) Poets on the Verge(2018), La Mama: Women Writers/Resist (2017) NYC Black Pride(2016), Womyn & Words at the Lesbian HerStory Archives(2015), Latinos NYC: Nuyorican Cafe(2015), and Women of the African Diaspora(2014).