Finding My People
From the time I was young even up until a few years ago I actively avoided affinity spaces. I was raised in a white community and grew up as one of very few people of color. As such, I tried to assimilate as much as I could, unconsciously at first but later, on purpose. I tried to blend in and shut out the part of me that longed for a place where I could completely be myself, where I could see myself reflected back. As I got older, I declined offers to join POC spaces and groups, partly because I didn’t want to separate myself from my friends and family, but also from fear of not being accepted. Growing up without exposure to Black culture felt like an insurmountable barrier.
A couple of years ago, I finally decided to stop letting my fears keep me from finding the community I knew I needed. Shortly after opening myself up, I was lucky enough to connect with @betylabeta. She told me about a new group she was starting called Brown Girls Climb and asked if I wanted to be part of it. I immediately jumped at the chance and I haven’t looked back. There have definitely been times where I felt worried that I would be “found out” as an imposter but at every turn I have been met with kindness, encouragement, and acceptance.
Finding other women of color who climb has been such a blessing. The feeling of being “the only one” is common for most BIPOC and has been my experience more often than not. Being a member of the Brown Girls Climb community has given me a sense of belonging that I am so grateful for. I am so glad to have finally found my people.