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when life hands you lemons

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Hands down, one of my favorite childhood memories is setting up my lemonade stand. My grandma would let me and the neighbor's kids have one at the end of her driveway on really hot days. We'd get the card table from the basement, and a couple folding chairs. Then Gram would make a pitcher of some of the sweetest lemonade you ever tasted.

One thing about Gram, she never stuck to measurements. Everything was to taste. I wish you could've seen the waterfall of sugar she would pour into each pitcher. It was a lot, but it was so, so good!

A few days ago we celebrated the release of Jess Reed’s new book, Roots & Hope, and during the conversation Jess began to share about the idea of personal archiving. Which of course got me thinking about my own practice of having pictures taken, often -- haters will say it's a bit excessive, but whatever.

Growing up my family went to the photo studio (JCPenney or Sears) every birthday, Easter and Christmas. Add in our school pictures from Lifetouch, and my mom has an extensive collection of photo albums featuring her kids, god-kids, neighbor’s kids, and just about anyone who has ever sent a photo Christmas card.

When I became a mom I added in Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s photoshoots at JCPenney. We’ve always celebrated with pictures. The  phones got quality cameras. And then lifestyle photography became popular and easily accessible.

Before starting therapy, I would book a photoshoot whenever I was in a funk. When my mood gets low my husband will quickly ask, “so when’s your next shoot?” — and now I have a standing monthly appointment to collab with Laicee Thill Photography just because. #selfcare

My love of taking personal pictures has opened the door to being on billboards, filming commercials, walking runways, and other ad work opportunities, still yet to be seen.

All my life, folks have wanted me to shrink so bad.

"she always...,"

"she think she...,"

and is.

and do.

My Gram would tell me, "they're just jealous." And although I believed her because Bertha don't lie, there was still something in me that's been okay with disappearing a bit -- until lately.

I have so much more to celebrate, curate, and create... out loud and in the open. It’s coming.

My great, great grandchirren will be talking about this.

That's part of the reason I'm starting this blog, as a tool to archive, preserve who I am and who I'm becoming. I also feel that it's important for me, as a Black woman, to have control of my narrative. We'll talk about this more in a later post.

The way I see it: Anybody can make lemonade. Technically, all you need is some water, sugar, and a few lemons (plus a can of country time, if you're fancy). I'd rather take those lemons and have a photoshoot!

Until next time,


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