Digging in the scene: It started as an informal conversation during podcast editing. Specifically, Bam and I were chatting about our episode with Daphne Lee about how much hometown pride she has, and then Bam asked me "Don't you feel like that about where you're from?" *crickets* There was some back and forth but I settled on asking myself some hard questions later like the profound..."But where am I from? What feels like home?"
We moved around a lot when I was younger, and I ended up and stayed in Texas after relocating from California. Early on I told people I was from Los Angeles because I always secretly thought that we would end up back there but we didn't much to my mother's chagrin. Fast forward, I finished school and then decided to stay in Texas for college, met a native Texan boy who loves it here, had some babies, and now...yep totally stuck. Even though I'm there frequently, LA doesn't quite feel like home anymore either so when people ask the dreaded question: "Where are you from?", I just give the name of the city that raised me... Fort Worth, Texas. The name alone with people who are familiar elicits statements like "Cowtown?!! Did you have cows growing up?"...uh no I didn't have cows growing up and "CowTOWN" isn't even a town at all. The city is massive! It's the 16th largest city in the whole United States, and the current population is 854,113. IT'S-A WHOLE CITY FOR REAL yall, I promise.
Telling strangers you're from Fort Worth can often cause you to 2nd guess everything you know about yourself and what you know about life. On another interview with fellow self-identified "Fortworthian", she asked: "Did I sound okay?" She meant...Did I sound intelligent?. It didn't make sense to Bam, but it was almost like she was speaking my mind in every single meeting I take with people who aren't from the area. Growing up in the city alone puts you in the midst of some of the whackest stereotypes ever- one of which is that we all talk slow. Ugh...it's annoying but if there is one thing I've learned from growing up in Fort Worth is my dope ability at code-switching and maneuvering amongst crowds. Fort Worth gave me that. Traditionally TaKiyah at home has been WAY different from TaKiyah on the speaker's panel. Well, times they are a-changing folks. That's why there's a new blog...just me. No pen-name, no flashy title, no separate site, just uninhibited, unedited, unrefined TaKiyah from Fort Worth, Texas. The real TaKiyah has a Masters Degree but can't write. She listens to trap music but promotes diversity in classical ballet. She is a former public school educator who one day plans to unschool her own kids. Are you ready for that? Can your body handle that?
I'm coming home. I 'm coming home and repping for all the little girls south of I-30 but north of I-20. All the little girls who grew up on Berry St and ate at Dickey Boys before the gentrification truck and the Panda Express rolled in. For all the little girls who ate a grilled cheese at Good Luck on Rosedale, and who couldn't cross the railroad tracks because of the Goat Man on E. Terrell. For every single girl who had to walk down Carverly Avenue (in Stop Six) from the bus stop alone because her home school was rated too low and her test scores were too high, so she had to go to the "other school" across town to learn. I'm repping for me.